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Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Art of the Poster Exhibition - London Transport Museum

Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview night of the London Transport Museum's latest exhibition which celebrates
100 years of poster art on London's public transport. As I mentioned yesterday, it was opened by Sir Peter Blake, who looked like a pocket sized Santa behind his podium. The art gods will kill me, I'm sure, for calling Peter Blake a diminutive Father Christmas before saying he's the Godfather of Pop Art or one of our greatest British artists.

The Seen - London Transport Museum

The preview night was opened by a surprisingly amusing speech from the Director of the London Transport Museum, who pointed out the irony of some London Underground posters extolling the virtues of it being warmer down below. There was also another one which wasn't at the exhibition about how it's a place to escape the summer's heat!

It is warmer down below - London Transport Museum Sir Peter Blake - London Transport Museum

The artists also were given the challenging brief of "By Bus to Staines", which I imagine would be difficult in anyone's books.

I was quite puzzled by the first picture in the post - The Seen by James Fitton. I did quite a lot of artistic chin stroking in front of it. Apparently the 1948 poster promoted the Tube's reliability & cleanliness to help boost the post-war blues. A guy next to me, heard me saying "What's this all about then?" to Fiona from Flickr who came the exhibition with me.

He tried to explain that it was all about the "seeing eye" which means that the Tube staff are all familiar and friendly with you and you'd feel safe knowing that. A good point for the 1940's but maybe the "seeing eye" would compare well with our CCTV / "Big Brother is watching" culture and today's Art on the Underground posters, "I think I'm being watched".

King's Cross London Underground Station

Me & Fiona chatted about these graphic "font based" posters and wondered what many of the artists from the past would have thought about them.

There was another poster that led to some imaginary beard stroking, which featured St Christopher, the patron saint of travellers, being zapped by some rays. Electricity supersedes St Christopher was from 1934 and the stylised approach "reflects a trend in European art known as "cubo-futurism" based on cubist forms and dynamic movement." The artist Vladimir Poulin was chief set designer of the Russian Ballet.

St Christopher Poster - London Transport Museum Visit Leytonstonia - London Transport Museum

Continuing with the Russian'esque theme, we come bang up to date with Visit Leytonstonia, which was commissioned as part of the 100 Years of the Tube Roundel exhibition.

This poster is by Bob & Roberta Smith who is an alumni from Goldsmiths college in London. Normally you wouldn't necessarily be hot footing it over to Leytonstone Tube Station in the East End, but it does have those fantastic Alfred Hitchcock mosaics in it.

The Art of the Poster exhibition is certainly thought provoking and I'd really like to thank the team at the London Transport Museum for inviting, me, Fiona from Flickr & Jamillah from the BBC's Pods & Blogs along. I also got a chance to say hello to Ian Mansfield from Ianvisits who regularly comments on this blog.

The exhibition is now open to the public and runs from 15th October 2008 to 31st March 2009. Full details are on the London Transport Musuem's website.

; Posted by Annie Mole Thursday, October 16, 2008 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon