Poster Show III – Various Artists + AIDS Wolf CD Release
Whippersnapper Gallery, 587A College
September 13, 2008
By Carolyn Tripp
A few years ago, I was intrigued by the proclamation by Rolling Stone that gig posters were getting cool again. Though the article is long gone, or perhaps only archived under stuffed animals and back issues of Tiger Beat in my parents’ abode, it stood out. I was intrigued. It was true. They were getting better, but before they were oh, so much worse. In fact, as far as my recollection goes, the 1990s saw a pretty steady decline in creativity when it came to gig posters and band promotion.
Year after year, the merch table at every concert you went to screamed sub-standard Photoshop, not to mention the lack of original design and illustration. While some of the type-setting was pretty cool, many just sought to scream vehemently that they were in the throws of some kind of nu-wave minimalism. Still, there was always something lost in the translation. Metal and hardcore appeared to be the only genres consistently toting detailed visual material (albeit morbid) while indie bands floundered with limited budgets, failing to make good use of their silk-screening counterparts.
Enter the new millennium and note the change in scenery. Somewhere around 2002, I wanted to start ripping gig posters off lamp-posts again. Finally, rampant use of colour reminiscent of everything but the preceding decade provided a breath of fresh air. It’s true, we go to see the band and the band is good, but we also love a great gig poster. We want the gig poster. We need the gig poster.
Enter Poster Show III, happening this time around at Whippersnapper Gallery, featuring artists from across North America, making work for both local and international shows. After visiting last Saturday, I can say we’re in a good place. I can never claim to be disappointed again, or else will have to whine for the decade in which figurative artwork reclaimed its title and made promotionals, yet again, veritable collector’s items. This exhibition included the hard-working, heart-wrenching folks of SeriPop (Serigraphe Populaire), the neon delights of Doublenaut (AofW here), and the classic vintage and graphic simplicity that embodies the work of Michal Majewski (AofW here).
One critique of the exhibit might be to suggest a reduction in the scale, featuring work in smaller quantities to increase coverage and focus, but I think the onslaught is part of its charm. While this salon-style exhibition and sale is a bit of a clusterfuck, it never fails to impress with its wide range of talent and quality of production. The Poster Show is definitely something to encounter each time it hits our fair city smack in the face, the resulting wound being of course neon chartreuse bruising with broken blood vessels in deep fuschia. Prepare your fisticuffs for a show come Spring 2009 if you missed it this time around.