New exhibition celebrates design icon Milton Glaser’s grooviest work

May 10, 2023

Questor. Annual report, 1969. Questor Corporation. All images courtesy of SVA

A New York City exhibition is showing off rarely-seen whimsical work of famed late illustrator Milton Glaser. Hosted at the School of Visual Art’s Gramercy Gallery, “Milton Glaser: POP” features nearly 150 items drawn from the Glaser archives, including book, album, and magazine covers as well as posters and advertisements. Many of these pieces have not been viewed since they were originally published, and some have never been published at all. Free and open to the public, the exhibition will be on view from Wednesday, May 17 through Monday, June 5.

Fanta. It’s a Bottle of Fun. Advertisement, early 1970s.

The exhibition is designed by SVA Galleries and co-curated by Beth Kleber, head of the SVA Archives and the Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives, Steve Heller, design historian and co-chair of SVA’s MFA Design program, and artist Mirko Ilić. The presentation of “Milton Glaser: POP” coincides with the co-curators’ recent book release of the same name.

Like the book, the exhibition features roughly 150 pieces that have been drawn from the Glaser Archives as well as Ilić’s collection. Highlights include vinyl inserts and book jackets for Dick Gregory and Agatha Christie, Superbowl and Fanta advertisements, and live music promotional materials for the renowned Newport Jazz Festival and a Dionne Warwick concert.

The wide-ranging materials provide an in-depth look into Glaser’s bold, instantly-recognizable art style.

The Baroque Inevitable. Album cover, 1966. Columbia Records.

While the curation for the exhibition has only taken place over the past couple of months, Kleber, Heller, and Ilić began work on the book in 2020. Each of the authors had both personal and professional connections with Glaser, with Kleber having written about and interviewed Glaser, Heller working with Glaser as a colleague at SVA for decades, and Ilić who collaborated with the artist and became close friends over the years.

Hair. Broadway show poster composite, 1968. Pen ink, cello-tak. 19 x 12 in. Never produced.

An opening reception for the exhibition hosted in partnership with Monacelli Press and Brooklyn Brewery, whose iconic logo was designed by Glaser, is being held on Friday, May 19 at SVA’s Gramery Gallery from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Those interested in attending can register here.

The Bronx native was an alumnus of Cooper Union and thanks to his famous “I ♥ NY” design, Glaser is forever associated with New York City.

In March, the city adapted Glaser’s “I ♥ NY” design for the new “We ♥ NYC” campaign with the goal of inspiring “optimism and civic action” among New Yorkers post-pandemic. Created by Glaser in the 1970s, the original design was part of a campaign to boost the city’s tourism during a period of crime and racial tensions.


All images courtesy of SVA

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