New York City’s First Art Space Dedicated Entirely to Posters Will Open in 2018

The collection boasts around 1,000 posters spanning the 1880s to the present.

Libertad para Angela Davis (1971) by Félix Alberto Beltrán Concepción; Wisconsin Cheese (2016) by Shine United; War Waste Energy (1981) by Masuteru Aoba. Courtesy of Poster House.

A new cultural institution wants you to take your favorite dorm-room decoration more seriously. Poster House, the first art space in New York City devoted exclusively to the medium, aims to trace the history of posters and their impact on design history, politics, and visual culture. The institution, which is backed by a mysteriously anonymous group, is due to open a permanent 15,000-square-foot space in Chelsea in late 2018.

Ahead of its official opening next year, Poster House will offer a taste of its space and program with a month-long pop-up exhibition due to open on September 20. The show, “Gone Tomorrow,” will present posters, handbills, signs, and ephemera from beloved New York City venues that have closed their doors, from the Palladium concert venue to the Electric Circus nightclub.

The inaugural show is also a nod to Poster House’s own space, which is housed in the former home of Tekserve, a precursor to the Apple Store on 23rd Street that closed last summer after 26 years.

The interior at 23rd Street. Courtesy of Poster House, 2017.

Interior of Poster House on 23rd Street. Courtesy of Poster House, 2017.

The institution is working to grow its collection, which currently consists of more than 1,000 objects from the early days of posters in the 1880s to the present. Its holdings—largely assembled over the past two years with gifts from poster collectors and advertising agencies—include a core group of WWI and WWII posters and a sizable collection of contemporary and vintage Cuban posters, as well as examples of contemporary advertising from around the world.

The project was initiated by a small group of individuals who, oddly, “wish to remain anonymous to let the organization stand on its own,” according to a spokesman. In a very unorthodox move, the space’s board members are also anonymous, except for the board president Val Crosswhite, an artist and COO of the real estate firm Grettir Management, who has spearheaded the project.

The Poster House team, from left: board president Val Crosswhite, chief curator Angelina Lippert, director of retail operations C. Monique Fuentes, and director Julia Knight. Photo by Robert Feliciano, courtesy of Poster House.

The unnamed group has guaranteed $6 million for the interior renovation of the space and $9 million in operating funds through 2019. Once renovations are complete, the space will house exhibition galleries, a screening room, gift shop, café, and an on-site preservation facility.

The program will be led by Julia Knight, the former director of apexart, alongside chief curator Angelina Lippert. Poster House’s advisory board includes Tim Rodgers, the director of the Wolfsonian-FIU, and Elizabeth Guffey, a professor of art and design history at SUNY Purchase.

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