The Museum of Modern Art in New York City (MOMA) recently added a “punk/post-punk archive” to its permanent collection; a poster that was created nearly 30 years ago by Tom Klinkowstein, Professor of Graphic Design and New Media in the Department of Fine Art at Hofstra University. Klinkowstein designed the poster in 1980 and has long since forgotten about it.
“Looking at it now, it is quite a piece of visual archeology: hand-made with label-maker typography in the tradition of ‘zines,” he said. “There’s the Polaroid SX-70 of Laurie Anderson and Peter Gordon and in the background is an image of an IBM digital device of some sort, very new for that time and a specter of things to come.”
Klinkowstein designed the poster, a lithograph, for performance artist Laurie Anderson. A lithograph is the process of printing from a plane surface, as a smooth stone or metal plate. “It is [also] what museums call “offset” printing, a common printing technology most newspapers use for instance,” Klinkowstein said.
The poster was an advertisement for a Benefit Concert and Dance Party for Volume, which was held on May 11th, 1980, at Irving Plaza in New York City. Volume is an international catalogue and directory of audio work in the arts. The poster designed in black and white, includes a Polaroid of punk-rock artist Laurie Anderson and now Executive Business Editor of the Huffington Post, Peter Goodman, with text displayed in horizontal boxes detailing the event across the front of the page. The poster was displayed throughout Manhattan before the event.
The opportunity to design the poster was happenstance for Klinkowstein and it came about through a series of social connections. “I got to know Laurie Anderson when I was living in Holland and then met the director of Volume through her,” Klinkowstein said.
After the benefit event, Klinkowstein forgot about the poster and became involved with other work with AT&T, NASA and IBM. It wasn’t until recently the poster became relevant. “[MOMA] contacted me by email six weeks or so ago, a complete surprise, since I hadn’t seen the poster in 32 years,” Klinkowstein said.
MOMA saw it at a show assembled by a collector at the Steven Kasher gallery in New York City in 2011. Soon Lawrence Benenson, also a member of the MOMA Board of Trustees, donated the piece to the museum.
The poster joins the numerous exhibitions of Tom Klinkowstein’s work, which include shows at Proteus Gowanus Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; AIGA National Design Center Gallery, New York, NY; and Municipal Theatre, Breda, The Netherlands, just to name a few.
-Tatiana M. Brown