The ADC Gallery was at capacity yesterday evening for the opening of Graphic Advocacy: International Posters for the Digital Age 2001–2012, which continues its world tour with this stop in New York.
Curated by Professor Elizabeth Resnick, Chair of the Graphic Design Department at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, the exhibition is a collection of 122 posters from a recent but historic decade that inform, inspire, challenge, educate, express, heal and hope in the face of injustice and tragedy. The installation was made possible by Collins.
On the occasion of the reception, ADC Hall of Fame laureate Steven Heller moderated a fascinating discussion between curator Professor Resnick, design legend Milton Glaser and, at the end of evening, the audience. After speaking about the selection process and curatorial vision for the exhibition, which began as a book, the conversation transitioned to a more universal contemplation of the role of design in contemporary society and how to make good work.
Full of his quintessential wisdom and humor, Milton Glaser kept the audience laughing as much as making them think, boiling down the complex political issues presented by Graphic Advocacy into axioms that everyone lucky enough to be in attendance will remember for a long time. “The primary rule in design, as it is in medicine,” he told the sell-out crowd, “is to do no harm.” He also waxed poetic on the “dialectic between beauty and function”:
“Art and design are like sex and love. They’re both great by themselves, and every once in a while you get both at the same time.”
Graphic Advocacy aims to empower the work of designers and, Professor Resnick hopes, give everyone a say as the world changes and human history progresses. “This work is about human kind being frightened about what the future holds,” she explained. “But being able to visualize those feelings is powerful.”
Graphic Advocacy is on display Monday-Thursday 10AM-6PM at the ADC Gallery through August 13th, 2014.