Photograph by Stephanie Powell, Courtesy of Poster House

New York City is a mecca for museums. Along with the large institutions of Fifth Avenue like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History, the city is peppered with niche museums dedicated to topics like man’s best friend, sanitation, KGB spies and now, the art of posters. Poster House, a brand new museum opening this Thursday, June 20th, is dedicated to showcasing design, advertising, and the history of the poster.

In addition to amassing a collection of over 1,000 posters, featuring works from Milton Glaser, creator of the “I ❤ New York” logo and street artist Shepard Fairey, who created the Obama “Hope” poster, the museum conducted an extensive renovation of the over 100 year old building in which it is housed. 119 W. 23rd Street was originally built for the National Cloak Company in 1901. In the early 20th century, the 10-story building housed the cloak company’s tailoring services as well as several publishing firms, stationers and mail order companies. In the 1950s novelty manufacturers moved in. From 1987 through 2016 the building most notably was home to TekServe, an Apple repair store that was iconic to New Yorkers.

Photograph by Stephanie Powell, Courtesy of Poster House

A gut renovation of the space began in 2018. LTL Architects turned the almost 15,000 square foot space, spread over two floors, into an exhibition space that pays homage to the building’s history by incorporating original features like exposed brick walls, barrel vaults and cast-iron columns, and creates a space to showcase posters as they were intended to be seen. Posters are meant to be seen from the street, so their placement and the length of the space evokes a sidewalk.

Photograph by Stephanie Powell, Courtesy of Poster House

The two debut exhibits in the museum are Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau / Nouvelle Femme and Designing Through the Wall: Cyan in the 1990s. The Alphonse Mucha exhibition explores the work of this celebrated graphic designer of the Art Nouveau movement and how he brought his intricate designs and gorgeous subjects to advertisements for everything from cookies to rolling papers. Designing Through the Wall focuses on the work of the commercial graphic design agency Cyan which was founded soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 by two men born in East Berlin, Detlaf Fiedler and Daniela Haufe. Fiedler and Haufe were some of the first poster artists to utilize early desktop publishing tools like Photoshop and QuarkXPress, while also looking back and drawing from the intellectual history of the famous Bauhaus art academy. The exhibit presents early posters for the first time in New York City.

Photograph by Stephanie Powell, Courtesy of Poster House

The Poster House opens on Thursday, June 20th at 11:00am. Admission tickets can be purchased in advance online. If you are an Untapped Cities Insider, you can join a free tour of the museum on July 2nd, when it is closed to the public, and walkthrough the exhibits with the museum’s chief curator Angelina Lippert, as well as learn about the extensive renovation project from museum director Julia Knight. Learn more and register for tickets if you are already a member here!

Photograph by Stephanie Powell, Courtesy of Poster House

See our full list of upcoming public tours and Insider events!

 chelsea, museum, Poster House, things to do, things to do in NYC, Untapped Cities Insiders

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