What to Know
- Poster House, the first museum in the U.S. solely dedicated to the art form, opens on June 20 in Manhattan's hip Chelsea neighborhood
- The museum will feature rotating exhibitions, a children’s education center and interactive activities, like making your own digital poster
- Poster House aims to show visitors the cultural and historical significance of posters as graphic windows into the past
Posters -- you can find them tacked onto the wall of a college dorm, or framed at fine art institutions. And later this month, they'll have a museum dedicated specifically to them.
Poster House, the first museum in the United States solely dedicated to the art form, opens June 20 on West 23rd Street in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood.
The museum will feature rotating exhibitions, a children’s education center and interactive displays and activities, including the opportunity to design your own virtual poster.
The first exhibitions will showcase the works of two poster pioneers: Alphonse Mucha, who elevated Parisian posters of the Art Nouveau period with highly-detailed and pastel-colored designs; and German graphic design agency Cyan, which created the first posters using Photoshop 100 years later.
Although Poster House is the first of its kind in America, poster-centric museums are far from new. The city of Warsaw in Poland established The Poster Museum at Wilano in 1966.
Although there is an established vintage poster store called Poster Museum in New York City, Poster House director Julia Knight said Poster House will be the first curated poster museum in the country.
Poster House aims to satisfy the longstanding desire of collectors and fans for an American-based poster museum. It also wants to show regular New Yorkers the cultural and historical significance of the medium.
Poster House curator Angelina Lippert said because posters are short-lived advertisements, they serve as graphic windows into the past. Unlike a history book, in which you read the major highlights from an era, posters provide an intimate account of culture through the perspective of products or events affecting the daily lives of the people in that time and place, Lippert said.
"When are you ever taught about posters in school?" Lippert said. "You learn about Monet paintings, which are awesome, but there is just as much value in posters as there is in a famous painting by a famous artist, and just as much beauty and just as much to learn."
The museum is already working to collect the best posters from today for their living archive. “Posters would not be saved for us to enjoy if no one had saved them,” Lippert said. “So collecting them now is important for people 100 years from now to see how culture was at this time.”
In the case of posters, art imitates life and vice versa, said Poster House president Val Crosswhite. “They are constantly reflecting us. They’re affecting us,” Crosswhite said.
Crosswhite said unlike many art forms, posters are accessible and enjoyed by people of all backgrounds. “Everyone has a poster,” they said. “And maybe everyone doesn’t have a painting or a sculpture, but everyone has a poster."