|James McMullan in front of two of the many posters he has done over the years for Lincoln
Gesture as Design
March 30-June 11, 2011
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Between 64th and 65th street
If you have ever seen a play at the Lincoln Center Theater you are already familiar with the work of artist James McMullan whose watercolors have been illustrating their playbills and posters for as long as I can remember.
In 1976 McMullan was hired by the late Alexander H. Cohen to design the theatrical poster for Cohen's production of Comedians. The rest as they say is history.
Most recently, Mr. McMullan wrote Line by Line, twelve columns on drawing for The New York Times online, based on the classes he taught at the School of Visual Arts.
My favorite McMullan book is The Theater Posters of James McMullan with a Foreword by his mentor, Bernard Gersten, and an Introduction by the playwright John Guare.
Jim McMullan will be joined by graphic artist Fraver for a discussion: Behind the Poster on Monday, April 4th at 6pm at The New York Public Library for The Performing Arts. Admission is free. Enter at 111 Amsterdam Avenue between 64th and 65th Street. If I were you I would go an hour early and that way you will have plenty of time to see this wonderful exhibition.
What a treat!
|Entrance wall to the exhibition.|
|The exhibition space.|
|Guests in the Vincent Astor Gallery.|
|Bernard Gersten, who has been the stalwart champion behind McMullan these many years. Mr. Gersten has been the Executive Producer of Lincoln Center Theater since its reestablishment
|Barbara Cohen-Stratyner, who curated
|Linda LeRoy Janklow.||Artist Paul Davis and Shirley Glaser.|
|Bruce Nichol, a contractor out in Long Island and a tennis partner of the artist, takes a photo.|
|Nancy Caldwell and her husband, Ed Sorel. The writer and illustrator have collaborated on several books. Mr. Sorel's work can be seen on the walls of Graydon Carter's two restaurants, The Monkey Bar and The Waverly Inn.|
|Milton Glaser with Caitlin Mack, designer of the exhibition.||Jacqueline Davis, Executive Director of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, with Sarah Billinghurst, artistic manager of The Metropolitan Opera.|
|Molly and Pete Gurney.||Theater producer Jamie deRoy.|
|Architect Paul Aferiat and fashion designer Jeffrey Banks.|
|McMullan with Dash Shaw and Koren Shadmi. Mr. Shaw, 27, is the author of many best-selling graphic novels, one of which is called Bottomless Bellybuttons. Mr. Shadmi is an illustrator for the Village Voice and The New York Times. Both young men were students of Jim's at SVA.|
|David Alpern who is producer/host of "For Your Ears Only," a radio show formerly known as "Newsweek on Air."||Sally Cook and Milton Glaser. Ms. Cook is an author of books for children and adults. Her upcoming book, Yankee Miracles, will be published in 2012 by W.W. Norton. Mr. Glaser continues to teach his Wednesday night class at SVA and is working on an upcoming exhibit of Shakespeare posters. Glaser mentored practically everyone in the room, including me.|
|Sarah Bernard and her husband, Hugo Lindgren. Ms. Bernard has her own show about fashion called "Thread" on Yahoo. Mr. Lindgren is the editor of The New York Times Magazine.|
|John Mazzola, former President and Chief Executive of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.||Greg Therriault and Joe Pintauro. Mr. Therriault is a therapist, Mr. Pintauro a playwright. Longtime partners, they live in Sag Harbor and drove in especially for the show. The day before they had attended the memorial service held at The Whaler's Museum (in Sag Harbor) celebrating the life of our dear friend, the playwright Lanford Wilson, whose recent death has saddened
|James Truman and his wife, designer Leanne Shapton, with art critic Larry Qualls. Ms. Shapton is a wonderful artist and writer, and a former student of Jim's. She worked with him in his NYC studio for a while. When I asked Mr. Truman what he was up to these days he replied: "I'm a Renaissance Man. I occasionally lunch with Si (He was referring to Si Newhouse, of course). I never want to have another job in my life."|
|Marcellus Hall, an illustrator of children's books whose work appears in The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker.|
|Bob Caro who continues to work on his epic biography of Lyndon Johnson. "What comes after Johnson Redux?, I asked. Caro replied: "Johnson Mort, I guess."||Nathan Urbach, who has been the Director of Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera for five years.
Urbach's response to the installation: "Magnified by the exhibition, it's clear that McMullan's masterful strokes have left their footprint on Lincoln Center."
|Kate McMullan, who co-authored a children's book with her husband, The Noisy Giant's Tea Party.
"I wrote the book and Jim Illustrated it. This was the first book we did together, and we followed it with 12 more. The necklace was a birthday gift from my friend Mary Spitzer."
|Artists Ed Sorel, James McMullan, Milton Glaser, Walter Bernard, and Paul Davis.
"We all stole from the same sources," quipped Sorel.
|Leigh McMullan, daughter of the artist. She is a lawyer and lives in Manhattan. Ms. McMullan was also the model for both Hampton Library posters.|
|McMullan taught at The School of Visual Arts for almost forty years. Many of his present and former students were on hand for the opening night of his exhibit.|
|Playwright Pete Gurney in front of McMullan's original drawing that would become the poster for The Grand Manner.|
|Sketches for Ah Wilderness poster which can be viewed in glass vitrine in center of exhibition space.|
|Various vitrines show the process behind the posters. Here you see how a book of Gauguin's drawings came into play.|
|An animated film of the artist at work can be viewed (and should be). It was produced by The New
|The McMullans at the end of a wonderful evening.|
|James McMullan thanking exhibition designer Caitlin Mack and exhibition curator
|Ed Sorel and his wife Nancy Caldwell waiting for the McMullans before they head off to a celebratory post-show dinner at Lincoln.|
|Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz
all rights reserved.