Newly unearthed SVA exhibition posters (1969-1970) from Cris Gianakos.
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.
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.
A pair of posters announcing the School of Visual Arts’ new location at 209 E 23rd Street.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Another example of paintbrushes (standing in for the artist) combined with another object (here, amid or as the hammers on a typewriter) follows the one we featured last week. The poster this detail is from originally was made to promote a panel discussion between the artists Alice Aycock, Alex Katz, and Lucio Pozzi with critics Lawrence Alloway, Hilton Kramer and moderator Donald Kuspit on the relationship between the artist and critic.
In 1962, SVA appointed Dorothy Koppelman, Alice Neel, and May Stevens to the Fine Arts faculty. Neel’s somewhat opaque description of her course, “Painting People”, still manages to evoke her manner of expressiveness and psychological perception.
Person and chair in room, also space, are structural – only the person inside his structure has other unique qualities which affect the other parts of the painting…sometimes the person gives off the structure around him. Person and background are one in best paintings. Person is psychological reflection of his era.
The subtly provocative design is credited to Frank Kirk, which is not a name I’ve seen on any other SVA publications.