July 2 – LORETTO, Pa. – This exhibition lets viewers stroll through the artistic process in posters.
The exhibition The Art of the Poster: Mark Del Costello Poster Collection is on view through October 9 at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto, St. Francis University campus, 112 Franciscan Way.
The showcase features more than 140 music, film, television and theater posters from the 20th century to the present, donated by Mark Del Costello to SAMA’s permanent collection.
The posters show how the visual language of the poster design captivates the viewer and communicates a message in a convincing way.
Some have become iconic designs that are recognizable while others are more obscure.
“This is an exclusive exhibition of Mark Del Costello’s posters,” said Dante DiAndrea, site coordinator for SAMA-Loretto.
“This isn’t the first time his posters have been exhibited, but the fact that it’s in Loretto is really important as he was a 1972 graduate of St Francis College.
“He has had a distinguished career as a curator and collector of films and other posters, and was the former film curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.”
DiAndrea said the posters range from an original “King Kong” poster from 1933, to a “Westworld” poster from a few years back, to an Aretha Franklin poster designed after an Andy Warhol painting.
“It’s very engaging and compelling,” said DiAndrea.
“There are designs that everyone is familiar with, many that people are unfamiliar with, and some that people have never seen or heard of before.”
He said the posters are an interesting medium.
“It’s art, but it’s also art as advertising and communication, so it’s both form and function,” DiAndrea said.
“You can see how designers approach their craft in different ways and that’s an interesting part of this exhibition.
“Posters aren’t usually considered fine art and you don’t think they’re in an art museum, but they’re important.”
The exhibition was curated by SAMA founder and director emeritus Michael M. Strueber as a guest.
“In selecting the pieces, I tried to focus on the unique artistry of each piece,” he said.
“I chose posters for the impact of their illustration and the uniqueness of their design, color and graphics.
“I chose pieces that I felt would immediately reflect or capture the essence, spirit, mood or message that the poster represents in order to entice and market its art form to the audience.”
Arranging the posters in the gallery, DiAndrea said there are four categories – film, music, theater and foreign film.
“My idea for structuring the exhibition was to create the illusion of three theater spaces in the main gallery, isolated from film, music and theatre,” he said.
“When you go inside, it’s an immersive experience.”
The hope is that visitors to the exhibition will better appreciate the detail and artistry of the posters.
“Visual literacy in art is something that most people are not even aware of, and to come here and see the posters that have been put up in a museum of fine arts in this context underscores the artistry that goes into communication and design flows in,” DiAndrea said.
An additional interactive component of the exhibition are 20 posters with QR codes that can be scanned with a smartphone.
“It will give you more detailed information about whatever this poster is,” DiAndrea said.
“We want to appeal to people and give them a more memorable experience. There are some posters that I found fascinating and wanted to know more about, especially the Cuban and other foreign films that I had never heard of, so it’s interesting to learn about.”
An opening reception will be held on September 10th at 6pm to celebrate the exhibition.
At 7 p.m. the documentary “24×36: A film about film posters” will be shown.
“Viewing art can be an introverted experience, but there’s some value in talking to other people and seeing other people’s reactions to art,” DiAndrea said.
“Seeing a film as part of a poster exhibition really gets the point of things that while we don’t necessarily consider them fine art, they still have artistic merit.”
Light refreshments will be served.
Participation is free, but registration at www.sama-art.org/event-list is recommended.
In conjunction with the exhibition, “SAMA Silver Screen Selections”, a virtual film screening, will be offered to the public free of charge.
Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush will stream July 21, and the original 1960 Little Shop of Horrors will premiere August 18.
Both films will be shown at 7 p.m
“We want to reach out to the public through a variety of mediums, while also allowing those who can’t make it to the museum to enjoy a movie night and some SAMA-Loretto from the comfort of their own home,” said DiAndrea.
Registration at www.sama-art.org/event-list is required to receive the zoom link for the screening.
The opening hours of the gallery are Wednesday to Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The museum is open to the public free of charge.
For more information, call 814-472-3920 or visit www.sama-art.org.