A black and white poster for a very early show at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford. The exhibition guide talks about developing ‘a spatial language based on human proportion and size’ to ‘construct active spaces to relate a person to a place’. The MOMA poster inspired the poster design for the same exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum a year later. Dutch Graphic designer Wim Crouwel designed the Stedelijk poster which Simon & Tom find ‘100% more pleasing although the Oxford poster still has a certain charm’.
A poster for an exhibition at both the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford and Bear Lane Gallery. MOMA and Bear Lane merged in 1969. Smith showed a series of previously unseen canvases at MOMA and a set of prints and etchings at Bear Lane. The telephone numbers were removed from the poster to make it look less cluttered. Smith’s poster was selected by Simon & Tom because they had been using spray paint in their works, so this poster had instant appeal.
This poster is for an exhibition of artworks bought by Richard Smith for the Arts Council collection including works by Michael Craig Martin and Stephen Buckley. Simon & Tom chose to redraw this poster as part of their Hit and Miss installation. They liked it because ‘it showed the idea of fabrication, like the poster itself is building the exhibition, as well as the use of graph paper and the quirky 'Calypso' font’.
‘There are several of these black and white posters with sans serif typefaces (Helvetica, Univers etc) for exhibitions by conceptual and performance artists in the archive’ which Simon & Tom find ‘very appealing - they have a great aesthetic, and sum up our interest in the art of the period in that it's the ephemera as much as the work itself we're inspired by’. The poster shows the piece ‘Mirror Work’ from 1969.
Ron Haselden has made a series of scaffolding works such as this one constructed at Cowley St John Upper School in Oxford. The exhibition at MOMA showed large scale drawings and photographs in the Middle Gallery which coincided with the site-specific construction. Simon & Tom weren’t ‘sure about the health and safety implications of this, but what a great structure!’
Selected by Simon & Tom because it is a ‘very simple poster, the gallery seemed to do quite a lot of Donald Judd shows. The economy of Judd's drawing is great’. Judd exhibited 252 framed drawings and gouaches in the Upper Gallery. This was Judd’s first one-man exhibition outside London. Judd shared the building with the St Ives painter Alfred Wallis who was exhibiting in the Lower Galleries.
The poster proclaims this as Rodchenko's 'First show in the West'. It was selected by Simon & Tom because it was designed by David King who also designed the Lubetkin & Tecton poster (featured later in the 50:50 selection). The exhibition included furniture designed by Rodchenko as well as a great number of photographs some printed by Rodchenko. The MAO archive includes correspondence from Alexander and Varvara, Rodchenko’s children about the organization of the exhibition.
Simon & Tom chose this poster because although simple it has a Sol LeWitt structure on it. David Elliot the then director of MOMA secured sponsorship for the exhibition (Le Witt’s first retrospective) from the Nina Ricci fashion house. Le Witt had recently designed an aftershave box for Ricci’s latest men’s fragrance ‘Ricci Club’. An example of the box and bottle can be found in the MAO archive.
Chosen by Simon & Tom because it is a ‘beautifully simple poster, using an appealing graphic form and a great title for the show too. We like the placement of the text and the form, it looks like they're sliding off the poster’. This was another poster they appropriated for their Hit and Miss exhibition. The archive includes lots of correspondence about funding for the exhibition – in the end it appears that the final works were completed thanks to a bank loan.
Andre showed his work in the Upper Galleries, photographer Ansel Adams and painter John Murphy were also exhibiting in the other galleries. The exhibition programme shows that Andre performed a reading of ‘False Creek’ on 7 June. In the archive Simon & Tom found ‘some great correspondence between Carl Andre and Nicolas Serota, the then director of MOMA. Andre's letters were all written in block capitals in black ink’.
This poster is for Pernice’s first solo exhibition in the UK. The word Baldt is an old-fashioned way of writing bald in German. The images on the poster are photographs taken by Manfred when he was on holiday in France in 2010. Simon & Tom say ‘Manfred's exhibition was at the same time as ours and we've been fans of his work for some time. Nice type design on this poster’.
Art & Language was comprised of the artists Terry Atkinson, David Bainbridge, Michael Baldwin and Harold Hurrell. In documentation found in the archive they describe themselves as ‘people who work together … not an arty-technology-sharing-manifesto-sharing ‘movement’ as ‘groups’ are traditionally understood to be’. Simon & Tom selected this poster because it shows ‘a nice pseudo-Constructivist arrangement on this simple poster, but with quite with a mish-mash of serif and sans-serif typefaces’.
Kennard shared the gallery space with an exhibition of the AIA (Artists International Association). Simon & Tom selected this poster because ‘Peter Kennard has produced some great political photomontage, most notably for CND. It was interesting to see the lack of branding on the posters from this period, partly because the Gallery was taking so many touring exhibitions, but it contrasts with the branding so many galleries have today’.
The Berlin Suite is 47 screenprints along with photographs and process work. The poster appealed to Simon & Tom because it is ‘a small b&w poster with a nice halftone image of graffitti on a wall. The mundane image of a plane of concrete is appealing to us, and the use small white text on a half-toned ground makes it almost completely disappear. The graffiti reads 'Alle leute ficken', which we won't translate here.’
Selected by Simon & Tom because the poster has ‘a simple design but the surnames alone carry great weight’. In the MAO archive there is a typed list of questions for use with visiting school groups asking such things as: ‘Can you decide, without picking them up whether the bricks or steel plates (Andre) are the heaviest?’ and ‘Are the boxes on the wall (Judd) empty or full?’
Simon & Tom ‘selected this poster because of the upside down 'S' in 'museum'. A nice reminder that posters were once laid out by hand, without computers’. This exhibition was by artist Paul Negau founder of the Generative Arts Research Group. As part of the public programme Negau twice performed an action called ‘Horizontal Seed’.
Simon & Tom imagine ‘this show about the artworld's favorite Victorian polymath could've been a good one. The poster was designed by Arts Council England and it has the look of other posters for ACE organised shows, with the solid coloured ground and black and white images and text. This is a great blue colour, and we even like the minor flaws in the printing, like the way the images are slightly misaligned’. The exhibition contained watercolours, drawings, books, coins, plaster casts and minerals arranged thematically.
This is another poster that was reworked for Hit and Miss. It coincided with the Darcy Lange ‘Work Studies in Schools’ exhibition. ‘Art in Action’ comprised of two weeks of workshop demonstrations by pupils and teachers from Oxfordshire schools. Visitors were able to watch the lessons taking place and even try out some of the practical activities. Simon & Tom liked ‘the playful hand-drawn typography which is really fantastic’. The poster designer Graham Fink went on to work in advertising.
Simon & Tom state ‘this is an exhibition we'd love to see -- we did a project at Dudley Zoo in 2005 that took the form of a publication for the zoo's architecture which was designed by Lubetkin and his architectural group Tecton in 1936. Lubetkin himself was an interesting, if flawed person. In the gallery archives we found some of Lubetkin’s correspondence - there's something great about finding private correspondence written by someone you're interested in’.
This poster uses a quotation by Nelson Rockefeller, the New York Governor and US Vice President who was a trustee, treasurer and president of the MOMA New York. It appealed to Simon & Tom because ‘there's something brilliant about how Haacke manages to sarcastically critique Rockefeller simply by using his own words against him’. The show included Haacke's A Breed Apart series of poster, which is one of the later 50:50 poster selections.
Simon & Tom liked ‘the idea of a poster for an exhibition that shows the production of an artwork’. This exhibition showed prints by the artists alongside prints from the 2nd Ruskin Summer School Print Workshop. Chris Orr and Tom Piper were tutors at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art and invited Breverman to exhibit and teach with them at the Summer School, which was held in the Ashmolean Museum.
'Two extraordinary artists and one remarkable gallery' - this was the first poster Simon & Tom selected after the gallery's name change to Modern art Oxford (in 2002). Simon & Tom chose the poster because ‘nowadays galleries have a branded aesthetic that unites everything from publicity material to catalogues to building signage, once this happens the variety in the design of exhibition posters is far less varied, and is in some cases less interesting too’.
Simon & Tom say ‘we absolutely had to re-draw this for Hit and Miss, in part because we're fans of Dan Graham's work, but also because the image is really appealing, those steps could be from a Brutalist housing estate, though they're actually from the New York Supreme Court building’. The exhibition included installations, photographs, video tapes, performances, publications, films and architectural models.
Simon & Tom think this is ‘another really great poster, the day-glo pink and navy blue are great. Quite possibly a reinterpretation of a Wim Crouwel design from his work at Steilijik Museum who organised the exhibition. Note that the entrance fee was 10p for this show -- a bargain!’ The gallery guide describes concrete poetry as ‘poetry in which the letters, sounds and forms of the words are of primary importance’. To coincide the Arts Council released an LP of two groups of sound poets.
A huge, unwieldly poster designed by two of the artists in the show- John Dugger and David Medala. The poster has a text panel on the back of it written by Ruppert Legge and Mark Powell Jones. Simon & Tom ‘met John Dugger last year and he remembered that there was virtually a riot at the exhibition’s opening, with over-enthusiastic students trashing his and Medala's work’. Brazilian artists Helio Oiticica and Lygia Clark were also part of the exhibition.
This poster might not be the most carefully designed one in the MAO archives, but for Simon & Tom ‘that's part of it's charm. In the past we made simple posters that can be photocopied, and more recently we've been making works using found joke cartoons, some of which are as bad as this one is’. The poster contains the listings for the Gallery’s film programme for January 1983.
Simon & Tom found ‘there were several posters for exhibitions that toured in the archive, and many had stickers or areas where the exhibition details could be written or printed for each venue, while it doesn't always work aesthetically, we admire it's economy’. Fluxshoe involved 100 artists from all over the world and took 2 years to organize. The tour began in Falmouth and Exeter.
Simon & Tom say ‘neither of us is a massive fan of Yoko Ono's artwork, but we still like this poster. The show title is pretty great, and the mundane suburban image works nicely’. Ono showed a selection of photoworks, performances, films, installation and conceptual works, objects, paintings and soundworks made over a period of 38 years. A piece was specially made for the exhibition at MOMA Oxford.
Simon & Tom think this is ‘an odd one - a very simple poster but weirdly printed, the boxes and text have a slight 'fuzz' around them from a halftone pattern and it's hard to tell if it's deliberate or not’. Le Witts series of drawings were called ‘Square & Lines’ – all squares were 8ft x 8ft and all lines were 6 ft long. A review be Judy Brundin describes the drawings as ‘An art of ideas … rather then aesthetics’.
Obmokhu was a reconstruction from photographs of an exhibition held in Moscow in 1921. Simon & Tom comment ‘MOMA Oxford seemed to do a huge number of Russian shows in the 70's, and we'd like to have seen this one. A great reproduction of a Rodchenko Spatial Construction, we particularly like the use of the original photograph of a 1920's sculpture for an exhibition of reproductions’.
Chosen by Simon & Tom because it is a ‘screenprinted image with a very satisfying halftone effect when seen close up, the white screen printed ink sits on the black surface of the paper beautifully - an epic image’. This touring exhibition showcased 4, 1972 Royal Shakespeare productions and showed the design and direction process as well as imagery from the performances.
Simon & Tom comment ‘this is a small A4 flyer/poster with an image of Hamilton's Epiphany work. The Gagosian re-used this image a few years ago for an invite card. Hamilton is one of the artists whose practice has been an influence on how we think about art’. The MOMA exhibition showed 20 screenprints borrowed from the Petersburg Press and ran concurrently with a large Richard Hamilton exhibition at the Tate.
Simon & Tom admit ‘we don't know an awful lot about Klaus Rinke's work, but this is a great poster. It reminds us of Avalanche magazine, and the text is nicely arranged’. Gallery interpretation in the archive indicates that Rinke was concerned with defining man’s place in time and space and using his own body in interior and exterior locations. Rinke and his assistant Monika Baumgartl gave performances twice as part of the public programme.
This is one of a series of posters that were made to promote MOMA, Oxford at Network South East rail stations. Simon & Tom comment ‘the posters themselves all have the same styling -- a bold colour, black and white images and long texts, each of which tells a story of a historically loaded artwork that was shown in the gallery. The affirmation that art has a wider historic and cultural value and by extension so too do galleries and museums is a good one’.
The Secret Block was the first chance to see Beuys’ drawings, which in turn became sculptures, environments and actions as well as context for Beuys’ political activities. Beuys described the works in the exhibition as ‘… drawings I have put aside over the years, a few each year, here and there’. Selected by Simon & Tom because of the ‘great enlarged halftone pattern (to which we are very partial) and nice typeface’.
Simon & Tom comment ‘we're both fans Wells Coates' work and we made a version of this poster for our show, only we based it on the designer's artwork, which didn't contain the images. With hindsight the poster makes more sense with the additional images, but somehow it's a lot less elegant. The poster makes good use of it's Futura typeface, and the mechanical art has some nice notes as to font weight and size -- the 'human touch' of the unknown designers' hand is nice to see’.
The MAO archive contains the original poster as well as the designer’s proof shown previously. Coates was the architect of the Palace Gate and Lawn Road Flats. He also designed the iconic Ecko radio set. The exhibition contained 21 painted panels by Coates. Aaron Siskind, the American Abstract Expressionist photographer was also exhibiting at MOMA at the same time.
Selected by Simon & Tom because ‘it is a beautifully elegant poster, it's hard to believe that it dates from 1977. We particularly like how the white line in the image (which is made up of four photographs of water) looks like a fold in the paper’. Dibbets was originally a painter but after spending 6 months in the UK on a scholarship started working with the natural environment using photography in a similar way to Richard Long.
Simon & Tom did a version of this for their Hit and Miss exhibition – ‘we were drawn to it because of it's simplicity and the typeface but had trouble working out what typeface it was, it looks quite a lot like Garamond but not entirely’. Text/Context claims to be a redefinition of art via a series of investigations into the ‘perceived object and received ideas’. A billboard project in and around Oxford was organized in conjunction with the exhibition.
Simon & Tom selected this poster because ‘the image reminds us of the kind of designs you used to find in subways, but have long since been destroyed’. Buckley showed recent paintings and drawings. In correspondence found in the archive Nicholas Serota, the then director of MOMA, states that he felt ‘it was one of the best shows we (MOMA) have ever done and one I shall remember’.
Simon & Tom comment ‘not the best poster for a Philip Glass Ensemble performance (there were several really fantastic ones in the 70's) but it's great to see Herb Lubalin's Avant Garde font, combined with an image of a Brice Marden painting’.
This poster for Smith’s graphics and multiples exhibition interested Simon & Tom because ‘it is a really curious design, the poster is made from two sheets, a printed one and a purple one, which have been cut and folded. It's worth noting there were several copies of this poster in the archive, and all were made in this way: a poster for an exhibition of multiples that is in itself a multiple’. The catalogue has the same design using 2 folded, coloured sheets of paper.
Another poster Simon & Tom chose to redraw for Hit and Miss – ‘this was for an exhibition of Darcy Lange films and works made in schools in Oxford and Birmingham (our home city)’. Lange filmed various classroom sessions and interviewed pupils and teachers about the sessions. These films were shown at MOMA. A flyer in the archive invites visitors to an open discussion between Lange, Guy Brett and Ron Jones. This discussion was in turn filmed and shown as the final part of the exhibition.
Simon & Tom state ‘maybe it's a bit of a cheat to include this as it's not a poster to promote the exhibition but one produced to go into the exhibition but we love artist's posters and printed ephemera’. As with the poster promoting the show, Haacke uses British Leyland’s company slogans and press release quotations against them to make his point. ‘This is probably the most important poster we've chosen as it had the potential to change something in the world’. Haacke selected British Leyland because they were based in Oxford and at the time British Government owned.
A Selected by Simon & Tom because ‘somehow this poster manages to convey a great sense of inquiry’. The exhibition contained work by school children relating to the Gallery’s education programme from 1976 – 1979.
This exhibition of drawings ran concurrently with the structures exhibition (poster chosen earlier in the 50:50 selection). The exhibition contained 250 line drawings, using a restricted range of colours, works made over 34 years. Simon and Tom weren’t so keen on the overall design commenting ‘we'd hope that a designer nowadays would refuse to ruin what would otherwise be quite a good poster by putting such imposing logos on there!’
Selected by Simon & Tom because it is ‘a HUGE poster, about as simple as it could be with 'Judd' written in black across a red field. All the text is in Univers, and Judd apparently had a thing about what typography should be used for his exhibitions and publications, understandably preferring sans serif to reflect the minimal simplicity of his work. Everything about this poster seems entirely appropriate in reflecting of both Judd's output as an artist as well as his ego’.
Simon & Tom ‘like the naivety of the child's painting and how the reproduction alters it into something quite dark, almost sinister. We can't help wondering if the child that did this is an artist now’. The poster is for an exhibition of work made by Littlemore Associated Schools. Littlemore is an area of Oxford city.
This was one of the first posters Simon & Tom decided to re-draw for Hit and Miss - they ‘liked the idea of the hand being the signifier of construction, as in hand-made’. Ragazinni was an Italian photographer who as well as making experimental art photography was also a documentary and reportage photographer. MOMA was also showing the 10 Years of Theatre Design exhibition at this time.
This was the first exhibition in the MAO Yard space. Simon & Tom are ‘aware that it's horribly self-serving to include our poster, but it's necessary. We were really pleased with how the designers reproduced the re-drawn image (of Enzo Ragazzini's poster), all the ink lines are slightly exaggerated due to the enlargement’.
50:50 kick starts the beginning of a celebratory programme of events and projects to mark Modern Art Oxford's 50th anniversary in 2015. Artists Simon & Tom Bloor present their selection of 50 exhibition posters from Modern Art Oxford's archive on this specially commissioned site. Released daily, each poster will be coupled with stories and moments in the Gallery's rich history, from 1965 to the present day, marking events including our name changing in 2002 from the Museum of Modern Art to Modern Art Oxford and the first exhibition in The Yard space in 2010.
There is a page of contextual information for each poster, to access click on the poster.