FUNCTIONAL ART:  POSTERS

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - Moulin Rouge (1891)
Ben Shahn -
Ben Shahn, January 18 to February 12 (1964)
Wherever imagination directs the work of our hands and minds, there is art.  We see it, of course, in the paintings
and the sculptures in a museum, or in the works hanging on our own walls.  But art can perform specific functions in
addition to being decorative or serving as a means of self-expression for the artist. Art can also be a tool -- as it is,
for example, in advertisements or book illustrations or even in the design of our buildings, furnishings and clothing.  
Art is all around us, and part of our everyday lives.

This
GalleryTime presentation focuses on this functional aspect of art -- with specific emphasis on posters.  Poster
making is an applied art -- art applied to the cause of communication.  Its purpose is to draw attention to a certain
message, and the most effective posters do this instantly, eloquently, and colorfully.  Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
created posters over 100 years ago that even today represent the epitome of this art form.  When we look at his
Moulin Rouge, we feel the gaiety and allure of the cabaret, and we can imagine that a Parisian of the "Belle
Époque" would have been intrigued by the image.  A little more than a generation later, another master of
lithography, Ben Shahn, turned his talents to poster making as well.  With simple composition and a remarkable
control of line, he created works that were sometimes soulful, sometimes humorous -- and at other times focused on
the social problems of his day, effectively communicating a "call to action".  Each artist created examples of posters
that do their job well while at the same time qualifying as "fine art".

The children will no doubt enjoy creating their own posters -- many are already experienced in the medium -- and
will enjoy as well exploring their environment for the almost limitless examples of "imagination put to work".
January 18 to February 12                                      Moulin Rouge