Presented in honor of the late Don Evans, who for much of his professional career taught art at Vanderbilt University, Curiouser and Curiouser—Avant-garde Polish Theatre Posters from the 1970s features a selection of posters given by Evans that are from a particularly rich period of Eastern European graphic art design. Evans, who developed a national reputation for ambitious and interdisciplinary work, died on May 6, 2013. The exhibit opens on Thursday, June 19, in the Fine Arts Gallery housed in Cohen Memorial Hall on the Peabody campus.
Some Polish artists went on to receive significant notoriety for their work. Jan Sawka’s theatrical posters provoked the Polish government to expel him in 1979. Many of the posters reflect an aesthetic begun in the 1960s under the influence of pop art and experimental theater of the period. These posters, as well as those from the 1960s, influenced a wide range of creative figures, including the filmmakers the Quay Brothers. This past year they were featured in a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York where several similar posters from the period served as a context for their innovative films.
Within the exhibition, the Fine Arts Gallery is pleased to screen Freedom on the Fence, a 2009 documentary about the history of Polish posters, from World War II through the fall of Communism. The film details the evolution of this art form by revealing the revolutionary role that posters played in the social, political, and cultural life of Poland. Freedom on the Fence spotlights several Polish poster artists, including Roman Cieślewicz and Franciszek Starowieyski, both of whom are featured in Curiouser and Curiouser. Produced by Andrea Marks, the 40-minute documentary is directed by Glenn Holsten and Andrea Marks. For more information, please visit freedomonthefence.com.
Curiouser and Curiouser—Avant-garde Polish Theatre Posters from the 1970s is organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph S. Mella, director. For further information, please visit vanderbilt.edu/gallery.
*Jan Sawka, Polish (1946-2012)
Offset lithograph, 32 3/4 x 23 inches