Poster House is a brand new museum opening in 2019 in Manhattan that is dedicated to presenting the impact, culture, and design of posters, both as historical documents and methods of contemporary visual communication.
Through temporary exhibitions, a growing permanent collection, and educational events, Poster House explores the enormous impact of posters on society and culture, and how they continue to influence human behavior in the 21st Century. As the first museum in the United States specially devoted to global history of posters, we will provide a space for inquiry for all those in the New York City area and beyond who are interested in design, advertising, and public interventions, with an aim to improving design literacy among the general public.
Born out of the consumerist fervor of the Industrial Revolution, posters have a long history as a bridge between the worlds of art and design. They have been used to sell goods, advertise spectacles, promulgate propaganda, and incite revolutions; in all these capacities, posters alternately reflect and guide social concerns of the day. Poster House aims to draw out hidden histories of poster art, map their continued role in today’s media landscape, and encourage future design as the medium is reclaimed and reworked by successive generations in order to communicate quickly, effectively, and seductively to an audience constantly on the move.
Poster House Advisory Board
Creative Director, Visual Arts Press, School of Visual Arts
Executive Director Emeritus, Art Directors Club
Professor of Art and Design History, SUNY Purchase
Co-founder and Co-chair of MFA Designer as Author Program, SVA; author
Design Historian, Former Antiques Columnist at the New York Times
President, Swann Galleries
Director, Graphic Design MFA, MICA; Curator of Contemporary Design, Cooper Hewitt
Director of Merchandising, Brooklyn Museum
Director, The Wolfsonian-FIU
Curator, Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography, Cooper Union
Poster House, the new museum dedicated to presenting the impact, culture, and design of posters, both historic and contemporary, is pleased to unveil the plans for its permanent home. Designed by LTL Architects, the space is slated to open early in 2019, and will host lively, rotating exhibitions of international posters from all time periods and cultures, exploring how this ephemeral medium came to become the people’s art.
Approximately 15,000 sq. ft. in total, the through-block museum will encompass both the street level and cellar of 119 W. 23rd St., and will feature two exhibition spaces for rotating exhibitions, a cafe, a children’s area, climate-controlled storage, an educational workshop, gift shop, interactive features, and offices.
“We look forward to exploring the world through posters, which have always prioritized direct communication with audiences through the beauty of design.” said Poster House Director Julia Knight. “The space reflects that, drawing visitors to the exhibition areas while maintaining a street-like vibe. We’ll be able to celebrate posters as works of exceptional art and design, and
maintain a sense of their natural, public context.”
A public promenade, linking the primary 23rd St. entrance with 24th St. to the north, will be flanked by a cafe, gift shop, and the exhibition galleries. The passageway echoes the nature of the city streets and posters as public artworks, and speaks to the museum’s integration into the fabric of daily life in the area — not an insular space, but a public forum.
The design of the new permanent home responds to both the uniqueness of Poster House, as the only institution in the country dedicated to the global history and impact posters, and the exceptional urban conditions of its site in the Flatiron district, home to so many advertising agencies, printers, and designers.
"Our hope is that this new, permanent home will become an integral part of the neighborhood, and New York's cultural scene more generally," said Poster House President Valerie Crosswhite. "We can't wait to share this dynamic space with our visitors, whether they're families, neighbors, design aficionados, or just passing by."
The 2,400 sq. ft. ground floor gallery space, enclosed on the eastern side of the museum to ensure climate control, is divided into main and secondary exhibition areas by a 21-foot- wide pivoting wall, which can be opened to create a single larger space, allowing maximum flexibility for the museum’s incisive, idea-based exhibitions. The cellar houses 730 additional square feet
of exhibition space that will be equipped with AV infrastructure to accommodate lectures and events.
Gesturing to the space’s history, which included a period as the beloved electronics repair business Tekserve, the design incorporates several existing features including the exposed brick walls, barrel vaults and cast-iron columns. These elements create a dialogue with the new architecture, blending old and new, playful and serious, and embodying an embrace of the poster’s unique identity as both commerce and art, public information and cultural artifact.
Prior to the renovations, Poster House hosted a pop-up exhibition, Gone Tomorrow, featuring posters, flyers, and playbills from now-vanished New York cultural institutions and businesses. It is currently featuring a running series of storefront exhibitions, Hot Poster Gossip!, in its 23rd St. windows, highlighting the history and design of iconic posters and advertisements. That series will continue during the space’s transformation. Renovations are slated to begin this
About Poster House
An exciting new addition to New York’s cultural landscape, Poster House draws out hidden histories of poster art as never before, maps their continued role in today’s media landscape, and encourages future design as the medium is reclaimed and reworked by successive generations in order to communicate quickly, effectively, and seductively to an audience constantly on the move.
About LTL Architects
LTL Architects (Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis) is an award winning, design intensive architecture firm founded by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki and David J. Lewis and located in New York City. LTL engages a diverse range of work, from large scale academic and cultural buildings to interiors and speculative research, realizing inventive solutions that turn the constraints of each project into the design trajectory, exploring opportunistic overlaps between space, form and materials.