Penn College brings the National Poster Retrospecticus to The Gallery

PHOTO PROVIDED Posters line a wall in The Gallery at Penn College for the “National Poster Retrospecticus,” on display through Oct. 11.

Did your father ever tell you that your “rad” poster of Guns N Roses from 1987 would never be considered art? Well, the art community, and especially Penn College, would respectfully disagree.

Running through Oct. 11, The Gallery at Penn College will be exhibiting the National Poster Retrospecticus.

For those unfamiliar, The Gallery at Penn College has a long, rich history of bringing art to surrounding areas all year long for the students as well as the community. Nicholas Stephenson, graphic design instructor at the college, recalls fondly some of his past favorite exhibits.

“The graphic design students do a show every year, which is really nice. It’s basically a collection of portfolio work over their time at Penn, which always turns out great.”

In keeping with the traditions of showcasing great works from all over the artistic spectrum, The Gallery’s next endeavor is the bringing the National Poster Retrospecticus, or NPR, to Lycoming County.

Although the NPR is a traveling exhibit, the credit for bringing the exhibit to Penn College lies primarily with Penny Lutz, the director of The Gallery.

After bringing the exhibit to Stephenson and the department head of graphic design’s attention, they immediately saw the benefit of having such a showcase and were on board.

“Poster shows like this one are important because they articulate both the designer’s personal artistic vision and because they are representative of the times in which they are created. This is a great show for anyone who is interested in design, music and/or art. It’s a rare opportunity to see work close up from some of today’s most important and influential graphic designers and illustrators.”

As stated before, the NPR is a traveling exhibit, with some impressive miles on it. The NPR has been shown in Memphis, Tennessee, San Francisco, California and even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

The NPR showcases all types of posters, from landscape posters celebrating our nations national park, to some of the most iconic “gig posters,” or posters created to advertise a musical performance.

Works from some of the biggest names in graphic design will be showcased as well. Notable artists such as Aaron Draplin, Aesthetic Apparatus and Hatch Show Print, one of the nation’s oldest print shops, being in operation since 1879.

Now some may look at this exhibit and wonder “Why posters”?

Well, according to Stephenson, these posters bridge the gaps between art, design and even time. “Posters like these are really important in showing what the aesthetic of the time is. So, when you think of music posters for example, you can really attribute them to different time periods.”

Stephenson stated that the importance of posters in society cannot be disregarded, explaining that “posters are so important to our society. They even inspire revolution.”

The audience can expect to be dazzled with hundreds of posters, displayed in a way that lets the viewer make their own journey into what they are seeing.

By having the NPR on display, Stephenson hopes that viewers get “an appreciation for the crossroads of art and design.”

“These things are all intended to be functional pieces, to inform people of something. So, I hope that they can see that the design, while not art, can be artistic,” he said.

For those wanting to learn more about graphic design, or even just get a basic introductory course into the art, there will be a lecture 5:30 p.m. Sept. 13 by the legendary graphic designer Steven Brower, who taught Stephenson in graduate school.

The lecture, titled “Provocation, Parody, and Process,” is intended to give an insight into the world of graphic design for all skill levels.

If that isn’t enough, there will be a reception starting at 6:30 p.m., giving attendees an opportunity to view the exhibit, and ask Bower any questions they may have after his lecture.

The National Poster Retrospecticus is currently on display at The Gallery at Penn College, being shown between 2 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays, and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

The Gallery is closed on Saturdays and Mondays, and will be closed this Sunday.