Though not precious or unique, the poster is the ultimate design object—it disseminates ideas and images that reflect a time and place. As an object of design history, the poster can comment on social or cultural shifts, but it is probably best known for its most prominent role—selling commercial products.
This exhibition surveys the origins of modern poster design featuring works from the collection of Merrill C. Berman, who focused on twentieth-century radical art. Berman’s collection represents a complex history of modernism, as avant-garde artists actively produced fine and applied art for commercial and political aims. Starting in the early 1900s, these designers revolutionized typography and the graphic image, creating poster designs that changed artistic perspectives, as well as the hearts and minds of people.
The works on view demonstrate the origins of modern graphic design, as practiced in Europe, and how the medium could be marshaled into service for social change.