Created by faculty members for nearly 60 years now, SVA’s subway posters are a “who’s who” of contemporary illustration and design. Offering a look back at these “Underground Images” is a new exhibition that opened this month at the National Museum of Contemporary History in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in conjunction with the Emzin Institute of Creative Production, a leading non-profit organization in the field of Slovenian arts and culture.
“We’re lucky to have some of the world’s greatest living artists, designers, illustrators and photographers teaching at SVA,” says SVA Executive Vice President Anthony P. Rhodes, who acted as creative director for many of the posters on view and curated the exhibition. Along with Joseph Mussomeli, US Ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia, and Jasna Rackov, director at Emzin, Rhodes welcomed visitors at the opening reception on June 4.
Represented in the show are Gail Anderson, Marshall Arisman, Gene Case, Ivan Chermayeff, Paul Davis, Louise Fili, Audrey Flack, Bob Gill, Robert Giusti, Milton Glaser, Phil Hays, Mirko Ilić, Viktor Koen, Stephen Kroninger, Marvin Mattelson, James McMullan, Jerry Moriarty, Tony Palladino, Stefan Sagmeister, David Sandlin, Paula Scher, Eve Sonneman, Gilbert Stone, George Tscherny, Sal De Vito, James Victore and Robert Weaver.
“Placed where millions of underground commuters see them every day, the posters have consistently produced a stream of inquiries and applications to study at the College. But they also serve as a reminder of the role that art plays in our daily lives,” explains SVA’s Francis Di Tommaso, who helped organize the exhibition.
In a public lecture at the museum, SVA Archivist Beth Kleber described how SVA Founder Silas Rhodes had been inspired by Parisian street posters in starting the campaign, and how the posters intersected with the Swiss Style and other historical currents in design. “I think it’s an indication of the success of the campaign that more than 130 posters, created over 60 years, by artists working in different styles and media, are still recognizable as parts of a whole,” she said.
Initiated by faculty member Mirko Ilić, whose work is included, and co-presented by the Emzin Institute of Creative Production, “Underground Images” will be on view through July 4.