Paula Scher and Seymour Chwast: Up Against the Wall Together

The Philadelphia Museum of Art and curator Kathryn Bloom Hiesinger announce a unique pairing of two distinct design legacies, but with at least one thing in common: The designers are married. “Double Portrait: Paula Scher and Seymour Chwast, Graphic Designers,” on view from December 2 through April 14, 2013, reveals their distinctions and commonalities (marriage being only one small part). Focusing mostly on large works—posters and environmental signs—the exhibition presents two walls covered with scores of iconic imagery that each designer, independent of the other, has created over a collective 80-plus years.

Few couples can be exhibited in this way. There is at once harmony and dissonance in their individual work. Influences abound, and each is inspired differently by different stimuli. But intersections can be found as well. The exhibit could be seen as a big interactive game, where the viewer is challenged to see where the intersections are overt.

End Bad Breath, 1967, by Seymour Chwast. (Poster, offset lithograph, 37 x 24 inches)

Best of Jazz, 1979, by Paula Scher. (Offset lithograph, poster, 26 x 35 inches)

Baseball, 1987, by Chwast. (Lithograph on paper, 37 x 25 inches)

Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk, 1996, by Scher. (Offset Lithograph, poster, 24 x 36 inches. For the Public Theater, New York. Photograph by Carol Rosegg.)

Nicholas Nickelby, 1983, by Chwast. (Lithograph on paper, 47 1/2 x 31 inches)

New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 2001, by Scher. (Paint, environmental graphics. Photograph by Peter Mauss/Esto.)

 .

Armin Vit and Bryony Gomez-Palacio’s Women of Design includes interviews with Paula Scher, Deborah Sussman, Louise Fili, and other groundbreaking women designers. 

COMMENT