Museum dedicated to posters opens in Chelsea

Mucha_IMG_8695_Stephanie Powell (2)

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | Chelsea is now home to the only known museum dedicated to posters in the United States.

The Poster House opened its doors on June 20, with the mission to show the beauty and historical significance of  posters from around the world.

Posters are an extremely egalitarian art form — almost everyone has or had a poster,” said Julia Knight, the museum’s director. “And of course we’re surrounded by them here in New York. They tell the story of the times in which they’re made, of the evolution of design and persuasion in public spaces, of what we’re interested in and care about. So whether you’re a design aficionado or just passing by, we’re going to have some fascinating stories for you.”

The new Poster Museum is the first such U.S. museum dedicated to poster art. (Photo by Stephanie Powell)

The museum has two floors and three show spaces which will host rotating exhibitions. At the moment, Poster House has two exhibitions on display. The first, “Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau/Nouvelle Femme,” features selections from the Czech painter’s time in Paris. The Mucha exhibit is broken into three sections. First is the artist’s rise to fame after making posters featuring the French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt. Next is his work in product advertising. The third section focuses on his time working for a printing company that demanded so much of him that eventually fled Paris for New York City to get out of his contract.

Some posters Alphonse Mucha designed for Sarah Bernhardt’s theatrical performances. (Photo by Stephanie Powell)

The second exhibition, “Designing Through the Wall: Cyan in the 1990s,” focuses on the work of East German designers Detlaf Fiedler and Daniela Haufe. The two started the graphic design agency Cyan shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The pair eventually became some of the first poster artists to use early desktop publishing tools like Photoshop and QuarkXPress in their work.

A photo of posters on display for “Designing Through the Wall: Cyan in the 1990s.” (Photo by Stephanie Powell)

According to a museum spokesperson, Poster House wants to have exhibits that can be enjoyed by everyone and has made a commitment to inclusivity. Every year the museum will have a non-Western-focused exhibition and one female-focused exhibition. The two shows slated for the fall — exhibiting movie posters from Ghana and posters from The Women’s March — fill both of those requirements.

Poster House is open Mondays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information about exhibits and ticket prices, visit www.posterhouse.org