New museum in New York City has identity by Paula Scher, interactive designs by John Kudos, and a new poster archive from TDC.
The Type Directors Club warmly welcomes the latest addition to New York City’s thriving museum community, Poster House, an institution devoted to the history and art of one of the most popular forms of graphic and typographic design. Poster House opens its new permanent space to the public on June 20. We also want to give special recognition to the TDC members who are adding their talents to this graphic design showcase, and share details on a new collaborative initiative.
When we dropped by at the press preview, construction and last-minute touches were still underway, but we were able to see the beautiful interiors by the New York architectural firm of Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis that open up the museum’s space from 23rd to 24th Street and create a welcoming lower level — 15,000 square feet in all.
Paula Scher of Pentagram, a TDC Medalist, designed the identity for Poster House, which frames the museum’s windows at its 119 West 23rd Street location.
Concrete-like wall panels — possibly signifying the street — bifurcate the ground floor lengthwise, making it hard to remember that this space was once occupied by Tekserve, the fondly-remembered computer repair business that resuscitated many of our early Apple computers. This dramatic architectural transformation revives a beloved city space that has sat empty since Tekserve’s 2016 closing.
On the west side of the long wall, visitors can circulate and explore digital interactives designed by Kasa, a design collective co-run by John Kudos, a TDC member. Near the Poster House entrance (and visible from the street), visitors are able to superimpose an image of themselves onto iconic posters. Further within the gallery, visitors can interact with an 82-inch 4K touchscreen to explore a sampling of the Poster House’s archive.
The east side of the long wall features two galleries. For Poster House’s debut, the larger gallery features an extraordinary body of work by the famed Czech Art Nouveau illustrator Alphonse Mucha, on loan from the Richard Fuxa Foundation. Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau/Nouvelle Femme contains 84 posters that represent much of the work Mucha created for the theater during his years in Paris, including his popular posters for Sarah Bernhardt, one of the most popular stage performers of the late 19th century. The exhibition continues in a second gallery downstairs.
The second “jewel box” gallery features Designing Through the Wall: Cyan in the 1990s — twenty posters designed in the 1990s by Cyan, an East Berlin-based design collective. Both exhibitions were organized by Angelina Lippert, the museum’s chief curator, who wanted to juxtapose historic works by a singular visionary artist with more contemporary works executed through a collective approach.
The rear portion of the space offers additional opportunities for interaction and creativity, where visitors can create posters by choosing genre subjects and applying period-styles in typography, colors, and composition. Near this communal area—and one of the stars of the space—is a large, billboard poster with a Mediterranean blue background that was illustrated by Raymond Savignac for Monsavon au Lait. Downstairs, kids (or kids-at-heart) can learn about the additive CMYK printing process in a Mad Men era-inspired space.
What’s in the future? Poster House is planning exhibitions on Ghanaian Film Posters and posters from the Women’s March for fall 2019. We are also excited to announce our collaboration with Poster House – an archive of posters that we donate to serve as a record of typographic design, a research resource for TDC members and historians, and a source of inspiration to graphic and type designers.
TDC members Gail Andersen, Paula Scher, and Alexander Tochilovsky are also providing direction to Poster House as members of its advisory board.
Poster House opens on June 20 with the following hours: 11am to 6pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday; 11am to 9pm on Friday; and 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday. The museum will be closed to the public on Tuesdays.