History Distilled In Exhibition Posters - II
PART II


ARTWISE  EDITORIAL
November 8, 2017 


When an artist’s career spans many decades, art movements and locations around the globe, it can be disorienting to follow the wave of changes or evolutions swimming through time. One of the greatest features of the art poster world is the trail of exhibition posters, serving to contextualize a body of work in a geographic place, a time and even sometimes a cultural institution of significant note. When important museums organize a selection of work by a particular artist, their show posters represent a pinpoint marking the atmosphere of the art world at that moment, and further echoing the larger cultural motions of the world in general. These posters reflect a certain historical archive, part of a story told through curated selection, date, city, typography, color choices and more. More than just a print of a great artist’s work, they hold the flavor of whatever magic was circulating at the time, often the very same essences working to inspire the art in the first place.

Robert Rauschenberg designed a poster for an exhibition of his work at the Whitney from December 7, 1990 - March 17, 1991, a show for his silkscreen paintings made between 1962-64. After the advent of photoshop in 1988, a compelling argument was being made for creating artwork by hand or mechanically— Rauschenberg’s labor-intensive assemblies make a strong counterpoint, and prominent institutions like the Whitney were in a significant place of stature to offer such a perspective. Even his typography is handwritten, and with the chaotic fervor that could only accompany such unbridled creativity.


" One of the greatest features of the art poster world is the trail of exhibition posters, serving to contextualize a body of work in a geographic place, a time and even sometimes a cultural institution of significant note. "
This poster by Joan Miro was produced for the exhibition at Berggruen and Cie in Paris in 1959, a beautiful stone lithograph printed on watermarked Arches paper, with the original deckled edge. The image used derives from the exhibition portfolio, a collection of lithographs Miro created from his watercolors. Miro’s art encapsulates purity of poetic emotion and spontaneity of execution— although he found a prolific practice through his love of lithography, a highly delicate and mechanical process. He uses black ink with a range of values and refined tones, reaching wild and playful effects. The importance of his print work is exemplary of the profound ability of lithography to translate artistic vision into a reproducible medium valuable in its own right. It was a hallmark creativity machine for many European artists in the 1950s, defining a golden era of graphic artwork.


Exhibition Posters