A vibrant and diverse metropolis that never sleeps, New York has always been known for its quirky underground cultural happenings, one-off low-fi events, and iconic hotspots where those in-the-know could gather. As the city develops and changes quickly, old favorites close down, and neighborhoods rise and fall, our collective nostalgia increases steadily. The latest pop-up exhibition at Poster House will go down this memory lane. Titled Gone Tomorrow, the exhibition will feature posters from iconic venues and cult events that make up the fabric of the city’s history. At the same time, the show will mark the conversion of the space on 23rd Street from TekServe to Poster House.
The exhibition is centered around the archive of The Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography, part of The Cooper Union, which includes numerous posters from the past 50 years of places and events that made the city thrive. These iconic memorabilia range from the now-infamous Times Square concert of The Clash, a screening of Putney Swope at Cinema II, or the old Vignelli subway map that opted for function over form to a ping pong tournament at Shopsin’s Jr., and the iconic Jewish Levy's Bakery. Additionally, the exhibition will draw from a variety of collections around the city, featuring long-forgotten posters for concerts, festivals, venues, stores, and happenings such as The Electric Circus, Harlow’s, a Simulated Saturation Bombing of midtown, Ginger Rogers at The Waldorf, Studio 54, the Fillmore East, Elaine's, and that time Madison Square Garden presented a bowling tournament.
The first art space in New York City devoted exclusively to the poster, Poster House aims to present the impact, culture, and design of the medium, both as historical documents and methods of contemporary visual communication. The enormous impact of posters on society and culture is explored through temporary exhibitions, a growing permanent collection, educational events, and publications. Their collection currently includes more than 1,000 objects from the early days of posters in the 1880s to the present, such as WWI and WWII posters, contemporary and vintage Cuban posters and examples of contemporary advertising from around the world. The institution is due to open a permanent 15,000-square-foot space in Chelsea in late 2018. Organized ahead of its official opening next year, the exhibition Gone Tomorrow will provide a glimpse into the new space and program.
The exhibition documents a history of New York as an ever-changing landscape. Featuring vintage posters promoting venues that no longer exist, it will confront issues of nostalgia, gentrification, and change. The month-long exhibition Gone Tomorrow will be on view at Poster House in New York from September 20th, 2017, from 6 to 9 p.m. Visitors can join for cocktails and wander the raw space before demolition begins.
Featured image: The Clash, 1981, from the collection of The Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography (detail). All images courtesy of Poster House.