International poster art on display at Gallery FAB

Posters tend to have a short shelf life. Many are hung up and then discarded without a second thought. Even more are never published. That’s what makes the latest exhibition at the University of Missouri–St. Louis so special.

Nearly 100 posters from 20 countries will adorn the walls of Gallery FAB as part of the 6th United Designs, International Design Biennial Exhibition. An opening reception will take place at 7 p.m. Aug. 22. Admission is free and the exhibit is open to the public. The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 14.

“It’s rare to see these kinds of posters from all around the world, and to see them at full size is really impressive,” said Jennifer McKnight, associate professor of art at UMSL, who along with Korean Ensemble of Contemporary Design organized the exhibition. “It’s like you’re walking from country to country. You start to learn the different values in those countries and what’s important.”

The exhibit will feature designs by UMSL alumni including Rebecca Lee (BFA 2011), Ryan Doggendorf (BFA 2007), Kate Koyama (BFA 2009), Adam Richter (BFA 2009), Danielle Keegan (BFA 2011), Josh Rogier (BFA 2009) and Stephen Jackson (BFA 2007). Also on display will be work by the popular Chicago-based design studio Delicious Design League, a team of two silkscreen artists.

“Our students are big fans of their imaginative work and can’t wait to have them on our walls,” Mcknight said.

Works by world-renowned poster designer and educator Lanny Sommese will also hang in the exhibit. He served as the inspiration for the character of Winter Sorbeck in designer and former student Chip Kidd’s first novel, “The Cheese Monkeys.”

One of the main themes of the exhibit is environmental awareness, which Sommese addresses in one of his posters about endangered species. The poster features a black leopard frayed by small round holes to represent the leopard’s depleted numbers.

“It is an arresting image, this strong graceful leopard punched full of holes on a green background of grass,” McKnight said.

Opening night will also include a lecture on the work of John Coy, one of the founders of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, whose work has influenced the Getty Center and the Pacific Design Center. The lecture will start at 5 p.m. in Gallery 210. There will be a 6 p.m. gallery talk with Albert Choi, founder and director of the United Designs.

The poster exhibit is sponsored by the Korean Ensemble of Contemporary Design (KECD), College of Fine Arts and Communication at UMSL and International Studies and Programs at UMSL, with additional support from the St. Louis chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Design.

Gallery FAB is at 201 Fine Arts Building at UMSL, at the corner of Florissant Road and Rosedale Drive in Normandy, Mo. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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