Certainly no designer and perhaps no artist has been more involved in an open dialogue with artists of the past than Milton Glaser. From Piero della Francesca and Piero di Cosimo to Matisse, Seurat, Cézanne, Lautrec and Dumchamp, et al, Glaser has been inspired by and responded to their work for the last 60 plus years, beginning during his studies with Giorgio Morandi in Bologna in the early 1950s, on a Fullbright Scholarship.
This fascination is in evidence in two concurrent exhibits at the Binghamton University Art Museum: Milton Glaser: Modulated Patterns and The Piero Project, both which run from March 31 through May 20, 2017.
Glaser, Purple Tree, 2016. Digital print, 18¾ x 24 in.
The Piero Project dates back to 1992, the 500th anniversary of the death of Renaissance artist, Piero della Francesca. The exhibit originally ran contemporaneously with Piero’s own work in Arezzo, Italy. Shown are 37 drawings and watercolors that pay homage to the old master.
Original poster for The Piero Project.
Piero della Francesca, portraits.
Glaser, lanscape after Piero della Francesca.
In addition, there are new works by Glaser, which display his current fascination both with texture and patterns as well as combining traditional and digital methods. His intent, however, is that the work does not look like it was produced on the computer, at the same time being afforded vast creative possibilities. While many of these prints also respond to and feature many other artists of the past, Glaser first discovered and became enthralled with patterning by looking close up at halftone comic book printing as a boy.
[Related: The Visual Art of Orson Welles]
Toulouse and His Ladies, 2016. Digital print, 18¾ x 24 in.
Black Tree, 2016. Digital print, 18¾ x 24 in.
If you are in the area, in conjunction with these exhibits I will be giving a lecture on Milton’s life and work at the museum on Thursday, April 27, at 5:00 pm. All events are free and open to the public.
One thing I could not have anticipated is how stunning the exhibit is. Designed by curator and faculty member Blazo Kovacevic under the auspices of gallery director Diane Butler, it is a visual tour de force. Floor to ceiling reproductions surround you with Milton’s Modulated Patterns. A life size cut out of the Black Tree forms the centerpiece of the exhibit. Upstairs in an appropriately more intimidate setting is the classically inspired original artwork for the The Piero Project, over 30 in all. Included in the show are sketches and prints for Patterns as well. Accompanying the exhibit is an equally stunning cloth bound and foil stamped catalog, also designed by Blazo, and the cover is echoed in the signage as one enters the gallery.
If you are in the area the show is up through May 20th. If you are not it is well worth the trip.
For more information visit binghamton.edu/art-museum.