I recently visited MoMA with my husband and kids. Pushing a stroller, I rushed through most of the exhibition “Wait, Later This Will Be Nothing: Editions by Dieter Roth.” (A Swiss artist, known to me for his unusual geometric books). Untouched by his cold graphic work, I paused in front of a high contrast poster for Bewogen Beweging (“Moving movement”), a traveling exhibition of kinetic art in 1961. Roth participated in and designed the poster for the exhibition.
The poster has a black background with silkscreened white and die cut circles. The bottom of the composition is set in sans-serif typeface, similar to Interstate. Since the artwork was hanging sandwiched between two glass panels on the white museum wall, the die-cut holes revealed the white wall beneath, and together the printed and cut shapes visually overlapped. Imagine copies of this black-and-white poster pasted on walls previously containing advertising, or paint, or brick. These circular “windows” revealed glimpses of life underneath. The poster intended to be viewed differently depending on its environment. The museum’s white walls didn’t do justice to the artist’s original intention!
Roth’s poster was purposeful, bold and interactive, with an invitation to imagine more. I handed the stroller and kids to my husband and walked back to the front of exhibition to see it all over again. That’s the power of one poster!