Showing items from the SVA Collection
08 Oct

Brilliant mistake

The 1964 course announcement for Henry Wolf’s and Melvin Sokolsky’s photography course at SVA manages to be both instructive and artful, assembling outtakes of the instructors’ portraits in a way that elevates them.

16 Sep

Deborah Hay

Deborah Hay and the graphics for her postmodern dance performances.

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21 Aug

Deborah Sussman, 1931–2014

A tribute to the designer whose neon imagery and super sized environmental design changed the landscape of American design.

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06 May

Richard Serra in Rome, 1966

A brochure for Richard Serra’s first solo show, from 1966, surfaced recently in the archives. Though often excised from his oeuvre, Serra, then on a Fullbright in affiliation with Academie Belles Artes in Florence, showed live and stuffed animals along with sculptural collages or Rauschenbergian “combines” at Gallery La Salita in Rome.

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16 Dec 2013

Lost and found

Newly unearthed SVA exhibition posters (1969-1970) from Cris Gianakos.

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20 Nov 2013

Working drawings

Milton Glaser’s sketch for the Working drawings and other visible things on paper not necessarily meant to be viewed as art poster became a part of the artwork.

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12 Nov 2013

Wondering where we’ve been?

Cover of The Utterer featuring a photograph of SVA Fine Arts Faculty in front of 209 E 23rd St, 1970.

Next Tuesday, our long-in-the-making exhibition, Primary Sources: Documenting SVA and the New York Art World, 1966-1985 opens at the SVA Chelsea Gallery. A rambling history of the school’s long history of fine art exhibitions scattered with ephemera, we’ve also managed to wrangle up some works as they originally appeared.

The show revisits exhibitions of several decades, curated by the likes of David Bourdon, Douglas Crimp, Lucy Lippard, Phyllis Tuchman, and David Whitney (with posters designed by Milton Glaser, Cris Gianakos, Doug Johnson, B. Martin Pedersen, and many others). Not to forget student exhibitions that took place in SVA’s galleries in Tribeca and SoHo, documentation of performances by Steve Reich and Laurie Anderson, screenings and talks, and (my favorite) lots of little odds and ends—loan forms, hardware store receipts, doodles—gathered together in binders that reproduce the archival files for each show. Come say hi: the reception is next Thursday, November 21, 6-8pm.

26 Apr 2013

Guessing game

A mystery poster from the making of SVA Gold.

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01 Feb 2013

Inaugural address

A pair of posters announcing the School of Visual Arts’ new location at 209 E 23rd Street.

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07 Jan 2013

Lucky number 13

A series of talks at SVA in 1971 and 1972 featured a pretty spectacular line-up: Carl Andre, Larry Bell, Michael Heizer, Donald Judd, Allan Kaprow, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenberg, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra, and Andy Warhol. The poster art, by John Sposato, reads as minimalism sent through the Push Pin filter (even though Sposato, who still teaches at SVA today, was, to my knowledge, never employed by the studio), right down to the slowly unfolding plays on depth and perspective.

06 Nov 2012

Red letter days

SVA Event 17. America Today lecture series, 1971-1972.

In light of the goings-on today in the US, here’s a quick snapshot of the poster for the School of Visual Arts’ America Today lecture series, from November 1971 to April 1972. Designed by Bill Naegels and Push Pin Studios, it enlists the studio’s characteristic use of variation within iterations of a larger structure (here, a simple grid).

Speakers included the expected art critics (“Miss” Barbara Rose) and philosophers (William Irwin Thompson), along with neurobiologist George Wald (who was a recipient of the 1967 Nobel prize for his work on the mechanics of vision), director Dusan Makavejev (who showed what would be his most famous film, WR: Mysteries of the Organism, in Cannes the previous year), and, finally, on 13 April 1972, one Lieutenant John Kerry: “veteran and anti-war spokesman; full-time political activist.”

Slightly more legible version of the snapshot available on our Flickr.

18 Apr 2012

Sun-rays and lightning

An exhibition of Navajo Weaving at the Visual Arts Gallery in 1972 described a loom made of cosmic forces, and blankets rendered in “cannel-coal, turquoise, abalone, and white bead” but developed during a “devastating acculturation process.”

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13 Apr 2012

Hammers and sickles

One of the earliest exhibitions of Andy Warhol’s provocative “Sickle and Hammer” series was an exhibition of the pencil-and-watercolor drawings of 1976 at the Visual Arts Museum.

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11 Apr 2012

Edward Gorey at SVA

School of Visual Arts Collection. Course announcement, Fall 1965.

From our cache of early SVA course announcements comes this sweet one in dust jacket form for Advanced Children’s Book Illustration taught by Edward Lear disciple and legend himself, Edward Gorey. Too bad Gorey didn’t get to write (I presume) the copy, too.

15 Feb 2012

Phil Hays for SVA

This is a detail from possibly my all-time favorite SVA poster (click through for the whole image). It was illustrated by Phil Hays in the 1960s while he was chairman of SVA’s illustration department. Hays’ later work, especially his portraits of musicians and Hollywood stars, was markedly more hyperrealistic and decadent than this simple three-pane poster of a woman sitting in a chair, smoking. At first it seems something of a strange ad pitch, yet the subject is serene and satisfied and the work is masterly, somehow making the argument for SVA in its inherent quality.

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