As one of the twentieth century’s most influential design groups, Push Pin Studios changed the nature of illustration and design as the Beatles changed the nature of music. Established in the 1950s by Seymour Chwast, Milton Glaser and Edward Sorel from the Cooper Union School of Art, the group immediately made a name for itself, sparking the Push Pin phenomenon that swept across the world. Half a century later, this exhibition named Push Pin Paradigm took place at CAFAM through March 31st, 2011 and it offered a rare opportunity to witness great design that transcends time.

The key word for this exhibition is “paradigm” – a theoretical framework prescribing the worldview of a certain time. Bringing together roughly 200 carefully selected posters, original artwork of prints, magazines, books, along with issues of the studio’s promotional publication, The Push Pin Graphic, the show spans works from 1950’s through the 1970’s and looks at how the four main members of Push Pin Studios were influenced by the studio itself, and the paths each followed after they went their separate ways. The highlights of the exhibit come from the golden age of New York design, around the 1960s. As a storm of innovation raged around the world, it was a time when the concept of modernity and the culture of the establishment were vigorously questioned.

Push Pin’s distinctive approach was noted for its eclectic sophistication, finding inspiration in the Italian Renaissance, Art Nouveau and Art Deco, early American painting, 19th century woodcuts and wood engraving techniques, and Russian Constructivism, and in forgotten typographic styles of the 19th and early 20th centuries. For Push Pin, they are art directors, graphic designers and illustrators at the same time.

CAFA Xu Bing with Wang Huangsheng

CAFA Xu Bing with Wang Huangsheng

Push Pin Paradigm at the exhibition hall

Push Pin Paradigm at the exhibition hall

The Scene of Push Pin Paradigm

The Scene of Push Pin Paradigm

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