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Crashing into the 60s: Film Posters from the Collection

February 2, 2024–September 8, 2024, Main Galleries

Films from the 1960s depicted the turbulence of the time. Poster artists from across the globe assigned to capture the essence of these films brought their own wildly differing creative interpretations of the subject matter to the masses.

An era of political, cultural, and sexual revolutions, the 1960s was a decade of great changes and great tragedies determined by such world-impacting events as The Space Race, the Cold War, Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, the JFK assassination, but also by the cultural influences of The Beatles, James Bond, and even fashions, including the popularity of jeans and bikinis. This was also one of the greatest decades in film history.

New topics, many of them considered taboo just a couple years earlier, called for new styles. The highly individual approach to posters, often combined with mixing genres and daring aesthetics, became more common, narrowing the gap between the motion picture industry and fine art. Having pioneered poster art in the 1950s, design giant Saul Bass was now flourishing in the 1960s among other artists entering the spotlight. A marketing tool, film posters promoted blockbusters as well as numerous B-movies, often influenced by pulp magazines and comic books.

The posters selected from the museum’s rich collection represent popular Hollywood titles including The Apartment, The Miracle Worker, My Fair Lady, and major artistic achievements from overseas including Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, Claude Lelouch’s A Man and a Woman, and Jacques Tati’s Playtime, among others.

Visitors will immerse themselves in the near boundaryless innovation of drama, comedy, horror, and overall power of the 1960s through film poster art in the Main Galleries in early 2024.

Curated by Peter Bagrov and Nancy Kauffman, Moving Image Department

Major support for 75th Anniversary exhibitions provided by the Rubens Family Foundation. 

Generously sponsored by St. John's

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  • Wall text and images are available to view by clicking the teal dots next to the works. To see the work in greater detail, simply click on the image for it to expand to full screen.