The Wilde Years Exhibition at the SVA gallery

This past week I went to see “The Wilde Years: Four Decades of Shaping Visual Culture” October 13-November 7, 2009. As an alumni of The School of Visual Arts, a friend and colleague to many of the artists whose work was selected, it was most important for me to see this extensive exhibition. Richard Wilde was the head of the advertising department when I attended the school, and over the years we have belonged to many of the same organizations, such as AIGA, The Society of Illustrators and The Art Directors Club of NY.

Richard Wilde has been the chair of the BFA Advertising and Graphic Design Department at The School of Visual Arts (SVA) for the past 40 years. The exhibition, organized in recognition of this great achievement, features iconic and culturally significant works by selected alumni from all four decades.

An author of books including, co-authoring “Visual Literacy” (Watson-Guptill, 1991) with Judith Wilde, has sold more than 50,000 copies and is now a required textbook at many colleges. Wilde holds a BFA in graphic design and advertising and a MFA in fine arts from Pratt Institute. He has won over 200 professional awards, including gold medals from ADC, AIGA, Creativity, The One Show and The Society of Illustrators, as well as International ANDY and CLIO Awards.

From the SVA website on this exhibition:

“…The 40 years of work presented in “The Wilde Years” offer a snap-shot survey of cultural trends as expressed through visual communication and a study in seduction, provocation and power. Be it with a billboard, the morning paper or the logo on a coffee cup, “The Wilde Years” recognizes the art that is experienced by everyone and that influences us daily.

Designed by Kevin O’Callaghan, chair of 3D Design at SVA, the multi-media exhibition space of “The Wilde Years” will place familiar advertisements, book covers, CD packaging and posters within everyday settings…”

The 40 years of work presented in “The Wilde Years” offer a snap-shot survey of cultural trends as expressed through visual communication and a study in seduction, provocation and power. Be it with a billboard, the morning paper or the logo on a coffee cup, “The Wilde Years” recognizes the art that is experienced by everyone and that influences us daily.
Designed by Kevin O’Callaghan, chair of 3D Design at SVA, the multi-media exhibition space of “The Wilde Years” will place familiar advertisements, book covers, CD packaging and posters within everyday settings.

The curators for the exhibition were: Gail Anderson, creative director, SpotCo; Sal Devito, executive creative director, DeVito/Verdi; Janet Froelich, creative director, Real Simple; Todd Radom, principal, Todd Radom Design; and Lisa Rettig-Falcone, group creative director, DDB Worldwide.

Walking around the gallery, many of the works were immediately recognizable, political statements, advertisements, magazine covers and spreads, theatrical posters, as well as book covers by celebrated authors. The design of each room was fabulous to compliment the work and gave you the feeling of seeing the work in real time. For example, one room is designed to be a subway station platform and the theatrical posters are around the room as if actually on display.

As you walk in, there is a video playing with interviews of James Victore (who described Wilde as an enabler), Paul Sahre, Paula Scher (who talks about the 40 years of maintained professionalism), George Lois (who talked about being given an assignment of creating a perfect rectangle, and when looking at the white sheet of paper had an epiphany that it was perfect as it was), Carin Goldberg, and Gail Anderson (who called Wilde a “rock star”).

I highly recommend experiencing this amazing 3D show. It will be up until November 7th. For more info about the show, go to this link: The Wilde Years.

If you truly cannot make it, you can purchase the book they’ve published, or check out my little photo gallery.

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