The Glaser Nobody Knows: A Wall Calendar for the ‘Graphic Trends’ Exhibition

Posted inGraphic Design

During the early part of the Cold War, Dwight Eisenhower created the United States Information Agency (USIA) to oversee all government information programs previously administered by the State Department. By the end of the 1950s, USIA began organizing a series of traveling exhibitions with Russian-speaking American guides to showcase American media and culture. 

Chermayeff & Geismar were commissioned by AIGA and USIA in 1962 to design the Graphic Trends exhibition, which focused on design and illustration. Jay Maisel photographed some of the participants for the portfolio that accompanied the show; Glaser and Seymour Chwast in the Push Pin studio were shot from above. 

The Graphic Trends project resulted in a portfolio of work by exhibitors, and it even included a wall calendar by Push Pin artists. The calendar featured American and Soviet cultural icons drawn side-by-side. Glaser created portraits of dancers Vaslav Nijinksy and Isadora Duncan. 

On the reverse side, Glaser drew playful portraits of folk heroes Paul Bunyan and Ilya Murometz. The calendar says of Bunyan, “although Paul Bunyan existed only in the imagination of the People, he, like Ilya Murometz, personified a great land.”

Beth Kleber is the founding archivist of the Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives and the School of Visual Arts Archives in New York City. Kleber also curated the exhibition “Primary Sources: Documenting SVA and the New York Art World 1966–1985.” She lectures on design history and research, and assists students and researchers with inquiries on everything from Push Pin Studios to the activities of the renowned artists who have taught at SVA. Kleber has also worked in trade publishing and began her librarian and archivist career at New York Public Library. For more from the Glaser/SVA Archives, head to Instagram.