The Glaser Nobody Knows: Milton Rocks Out With Lillian Roxon
The Glaser Nobody Knows is a new column featuring work by Milton Glaser that you may never have seen before. There are countless projects by the master, both produced and unpublished, that are unfamiliar even to design aficionados. All of the items in this column are part of The Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives at the School of Visual Arts, the chief repository of his legendary work.
Lillian Roxon, the trailblazing Australian music journalist and author of the massive Lillian Roxon’s Rock Encyclopedia (1969), was a rich subject for any artist. The charismatic writer moved from Sydney to New York City in 1962, where she became an early chronicler of the 1960s rock music scene and culture.
Episodes of “Lillian Roxon’s Diskotique,” originally broadcast in 1971, were two minutes in length and devoted to Roxon expounding on a single topic. The recordings were later distributed on vinyl and syndicated to American radio stations. The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia has made some episodes available, along with miscellaneous other recordings and interviews with Roxon.
Glaser-heads are probably familiar with his 1972 poster for “Lillian Roxon’s Diskotique” (that image also seems to have been repurposed for usage related to “Lillian Roxon: Mother of Rock,” Paul Clarke’s 2010 documentary). However, it looks like Glaser designed two other variations that were never produced, as far as I can tell. Unlike the published poster, which centers on a portrait of a woman, the comps are even more surreal and feature abstract depictions of sound. Roxon, who died in 1973 at the age of 40, was such a singular presence on the New York scene that it’s not surprising that the final poster would focus on her.
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.