East London’s Kemistry Gallery has launched an exhibition of Seymour Chwast and Milton Glaser’s work for Push Pin Studios. Here’s a look at the show – and some words of wisdom from an 83-year-old Glaser.
Seymour Chwast and Milton Glaser are two of the most influential designers of the twentieth century. In 1954, they co-founded Push Pin Studios and for 20 years, produced record covers, book jackets, posters, prints and magazine illustrations in the iconic ‘Push Pin Style’ – bright and witty, often heavily outlined images packed with historical, cultural and artistic references and innovative uses of type.
Glaser left Push Pin in 1975 and today runs his own studio, while Chwast directs the Push Pin Group. The pair’s work hasn’t been shown in London for more than 40 years but is now on display at London’s Kemistry Gallery until November 2.
The Seymour & Milton Posters Show is a collection of posters, sketches and copies of Push Pin’s bi-monthly magazine, the Push Pin Graphic (above). The publication was a spin-off of an earlier project, the Push Pin Almanack, which Glaser and Chwast produced with fellow Push Pin founder Edward Sorel and illustrator Reynold Ruffins, who joined the studio in 1955.
The exhibition includes some of the studio’s most memorable pieces – including a series of posters related to war and peace, such as this one criticising the US bombing of Hanoi in 1967:
A 1985 poster commemorating the 40th anniversary of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and one created to mark the bicentennial of the French Revolution (below):
It also includes some excellent designs created to promote conferences and exhibitions such as this one made for a Chwast retrospective:
And illustrations for the New York magazine, which Glaser co-founded with Clay Felker. (He also created the iconic I Heart New York campaign).
A selection of prints on display at the show are for sale, as is a poster designed for the exhibition and a series of rarely seen sketches, including Chwast’s drawings of sex ads and Mexican masks (below). It’s a great collection and one that showcases the skill, humour and attention to detail in both Glaser and Chwast’s work.
“As a young designer I went to a talk Milton and Seymour gave in London. They epitomised to me what being a designer was all about. They created work that was so fresh, intelligent, witty, thought-provoking and beautifully executed, I was in awe. Forty years later, to be hosting an exhibition of their work is thrilling,” says Kemistry co-founder Graham McCallum.
Now in their early 80s, Chwast and Glaser are still designing – both appeared at this year’s Point conference in London, and you can watch a lovely video interview with Glaser which premiered at the conference below.
The Seymour & Milton show runs until November 2 at Kemistry Gallery, 43 Charlotte Road, EC2A 3PD. For more info see kemistrygallery.co.uk