SVA’s ‘Underground Images’ Opens in Rio de Janeiro

November 12, 2015

“Underground Images,” the globetrotting retrospective of SVA’s long-running subway poster series, opened at the Antonio Carlos Jobim Institute in Rio de Janeiro on November 5 to a full house of Rio’s creative community. The exhibition, and related programming, was included in the Semana Design Rio (Rio Design Week) and is the first time “Underground Images” has shown in Brazil. Organized and curated locally by Ana Fortes, partner of Memoo Productions and Design, the show features many details that bring the New York Subway to life.

“The exhibition makes you feel that you are on a subway platform in NYC. Even the smallest details were re-created. The subway tiles were printed in 3D, you can hear the sound of the train coming, the operator’s voice, even beautiful graffitti on the wall and a small mouse on the platform,” said Daniela Novaes, international coordinator for SVA in Brazil, who worked with Fortes on the show.

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“I wanted to create the atmosphere of a NYC subway station. I invited Marcos Kuzka to create a video to project on the wall—the cars passing and images from its inside,” said Fortes.

Accompanying the exhibition, Viktor Koen, MFA Illustration as Visual Essay and BFA Design faculty member and 2012 and 2015 “Underground Images” poster designer, traveled to Rio to open the exhibition, as well as conduct a workshop as part of Design Week.

“The Underground Images exhibition in Rio was impressive and dramatic with close attention to detail, making evident the touch of a curatorial team with much skill in delivering a lasting impression,” said Koen of the event.


Viktor Koen leads a workshop as part of “Underground Images.”

Novaes also gave presentations about the College in coordination with the exhibition and was joined by Sem Devillart, faculty member in the MPS Branding program and co-founder and managing partner of Popular Operations, who spoke about her work at SVA and in the field of trend forecasting.

The exhibition was well received in Rio and garnered media attention from O GloboTime Out Rio, Veja Rio, Jornal Do Brasil, Almanaque da Cultura and Deloox, among many others. The show was also supported by Fotosfera Rio. The exhibition closes on December 6.

Featuring over 50 posters spanning nearly 60 years of SVA’s iconic subway advertising campaign, “Underground Images: School of Visual Arts Subway Posters, 1947 to the Present” has been featured in cities around the world such as Marseille, France, Beijing, China and Istanbul, Turkey. The retrospective is curated by SVA Executive Vice President Anthony P. Rhodes, who has served as creative director of the posters since 2007. Over 29 artists have contributed posters to the long-running campaign, including Milton GlaserStefan SagmeisterMarshall ArismanNathan FoxLouise Fili and Paula Scher.

The next “Underground Images” exhibition opens on November 13 in Lisbon, Portugal, as part of the Experimenta Design Festival. “Underground Images” organizer Mirko Ilić will lecture before the opening of the show. Ilic has also curated a concurrent exhibition, “As far as the eye can’t see” which includes work by SVA faculty members David Sandlin, Milton Glaser and alumnus Mu Pan.

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