The Push Pin Legacy

September 2, 2021–February 6, 2022
Peering into the Push Pin show by a chicken graphic dressed in a tux, directly ahead a white wall of colorful framed posters.

This exhibition explores the incredible impact Push Pin Studios had on the resurgence and evolution of American commercial illustration.

Founded by Seymour Chwast, Reynold Ruffins, and Edward Sorel—and soon joined by Milton Glaser—Push Pin served as a counterpoint to the slick ads being created on Madison Avenue and the rigid, grid-based designs popular in Europe. They were referential, drawing from troves of disparate and often forgotten tropes from past art movements and time periods, hurtling them into the new, playful visual language of the 1960s and beyond.

The studio also served as an incubator for a myriad of designers who would become legends in their field, from the aforementioned founders to the likes of Paul Davis, Barry Zaid, Richard Mantel, James McMullan, John Alcorn, and many, many more.

Featured artists include:

  • John Alcorn
  • Seymour Chwast
  • Paul Davis
  • Milton Glaser
  • Tim Lewis
  • Richard Mantel
  • James McMullan
  • Reynold Ruffins
  • Isadore Seltzer
  • Emanuel Schongut
  • Edward Sorel
  • Barry Zaid

Additional support was provided by Mohawk Paper.


Selected Images

A photo offset poster of a besuited orange figure with a cane and monocle overlapping a crowd of pink heads.
Visit Dante’s Inferno, 1967
Seymour Chwast
A photo offset poster of a woman in a sailor costume leaning against a ship's railing, a large cruise liner in the distance.
Anything Goes, 1987
James McMullan
An illustrational poster of a Black woman staring off to the right in front of a tiled subway wall.
For Colored Girls, 1976
Paul Davis
Black text on a white background stating i heart new york more than ever.
I Love NY More Than Ever, 2001
Milton Glaser
A photo offset poster of the word Filmsense in black and white script repeated and overlapping to infinity over a rainbow background.
Filmsense, c. 1968
Seymour Chwast & Milton Glaser
A photo offset poster of a man in 1940s attire screaming into a telephone against a yellow background.
The Front Page, 1986
James McMullan
A photo offset poster of a large white dinner plate with 5 peas on it and nothing else.
Push Pin Posters Packages & Publications, 1979
Seymour Chwast & Richard Mantel
Photo offset poster of a psychedelic dorothy and cowardly lion in a blue and red hellscape covered in lines, like Tron.
Head Out To Oz, 1967
James McMullan
A photo offset poster of 4 faces of Patti Labelle in various styles.
Patti LaBelle, 1979
Isadore Seltzer
A photo offset illustrational poster in purple hues of Barbra Streisand looking toward the upper left corner.
The Belle of 14th Street, 1967
Tim Lewis
A photo offset poster of two green jazz musicians facing each other wearing black suits.
Basie & Getz, 1963
Seymour Chwast
A photo offset illustrational poster for 4 views of the empire state building in the four seasons.
New York, 1968
Milton Glaser
A photomontage poster of various important Black historical figures.
Harlem on My Mind, 1969
Reynold Ruffins
A photo offset poster of three illustrational women in red suits inside a French garden.
Daniel Hechter, 1970
Barry Zaid
An illustrational poster of Che Guevara looking toward a sunset.
The Evergreen Review/Che Guevara, 1968
Paul Davis
A photo offset illustrational poster of a white female face in profile with wild colorful hair made of plants.
Concerts for Safe Energy, 1979
John Alcorn
A photo offset illustrational poster of a cardinal running toward a battle with a bayonette in hand.
Pass The Lord and Praise the Ammunition, 1967
Ed Sorel