“Underground Images: School of Visual Arts Subway Posters, 1947 to the Present,” a selection of more than 50 posters created by SVA faculty members throughout the College’s history, continues its world tour. Its latest stop: the city of Cetinje, in the Southeastern European country of Montenegro, where it opened on Friday, April 26, and is on view through Friday, May 16, at the Atelier Dado in the National Museum of Montenegro. It is being presented there as part of the Fluid Design Forum, an event hosted by the University of Montenegro Faculty of Fine Arts.
“Underground Images” was brought to Cetinje by Mirjana Dabović-Pejović, curator and program manager at the Atelier Dado, and Ana Matić, a Faculty of Fine Arts instructor and coordinator of Fluid. “I saw the exhibition last year in Sarajevo, and immediately know we had to bring it to Cetinje,” says Matić. “The posters correspond well with Fluid’s theme of City and Communications.” As Dabović-Pejović explains, earlier exhibitions in Cetinje of work by SVA faculty Milton Glaser (in 2011) and Mirko Ilić (in 2012) were successful, and “Underground Images” “is a continuation of our practice in promoting . . . internationally known graphic designers, and a great way to educate students, graphic designers [and] also the wider audience—by presenting them works of some of the key figures of the history of design.”
On hand to celebrate the exhibition’s latest stop and take part in the forum were SVA faculty Ilić and Viktor Koen (MFA 1992 Illustration as Visual Essay) and Associate Director of Admissions Jaime Garcia. Also in attendance was A. Sunshine Ison, the head of the public affairs section of the U.S. embassy in Montenegro.
“The students fanatically participated in all aspects of the forum and bombarded us with questions about SVA, every chance they had,” said Koen. On the Saturday after the exhibition’s opening, Koen gave a presentation that covered his own multifaceted career and touched on his own educational experiences—as an undergraduate in Jerusalem and as an MFA candidate in New York City. He also conducted a workshop that lasted several hours—beginning at 3:00pm and going past 9:00pm—in which he reviewed students’ work and discussed its potential application in the communication and design industry.
Ilić, who has played an instrumental role in arranging the “Underground Images” exhibition’s international tour (and who donated one of his own SVA posters to the National Museum of Montenegro after his solo show there in 2012), gave two talks about his work and also reviewed student portfolios. (“He lectured and reviewed work nonstop,” Koen says.)
As he did at the last European stop for “Underground Images” in Belgrade, Garcia gave an illustrated talk on SVA and the posters’ impressive pedigree. (The series has featured works by Milton Glaser, Steven Heller and Stefan Sagmeister, among many other distinguished artists and designers.)
Of the public reception for the exhibition, the posters by Glaser, Ilić, Koen, Louise Fili and Stefan Sagmeister have drawn the most attention from visitors, generally designers and design students, says Matić, adding “For many designers here, good typography is good communication.” Her own favorites include George Tscherny’s 1961 design featuring an egg on its side, the end cracked open, with the copy “Every Wall is a Door.”
“Underground Images” was curated by Anthony P. Rhodes, SVA’s executive vice president and creative director of the poster series since 2007. It will next travel to Zagreb, Croatia, where it opens at the Gallery Izidor Krsnjavi at the city’s School of Applied Arts and Design on May 26.