I’ve long been strangely fascinated by posters – they can be multivalent collisions of commerce, design, culture, politics, and art. It was fortunate, then, that in 2019 America’s first dedicated poster museum, aptly named Poster House, opened near my Chelsea apartment.
Poster House currently has four wonderful, vaguely complimentary exhibits displayed across two floors like contrasting sides of the same temporal coin: the posters of Blaxploitation cinema, expressionist LeRoy Neiman’s dynamic sports art, the pop psychedelia of Peter Max. The most comprehensively presented is “The Push Pin Legacy”, a retrospective on seminal New York design firm Push Pin Studios.
Starting in the 1950s, the collective had an immeasurable impact on global design and culture, and none more than Milton Glaser. His New York-specific designs alone are iconic and omnipresent: the I❤NY trademark, the New York magazine logo, the Brooklyn Brewery label.
I went to see one Glaser design in particular, a Bob Dylan poster – Dylan’s silhouette aflame with curling rainbow hair – that I loved so much as an art-tinkering teen that I tried, unsuccessfully, to riff on it (and rip it off) with my own design. At least I was trying to steal from one of the greats.
David Kenji Chang is a writer and comedian who currently lives and works in New York and Southern California.