Paula Scher and Seymour Chwast’s ‘Double Portrait’ on View at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
It’s not too late to plan a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see Double Portrait, the first joint exhibition of the work of Pentagram’s Paula Scher and Push Pin’s Seymour Chwast. The show includes more than 300 pieces selected and installed by the creative couple and remains on view through April 14.
Curated by Kathryn Hiesinger, PMA curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700, Double Portrait makes connections in the work of Scher and Chwast, who both share a love for eclectic influences, expressive typography and bold images. Concurrent with the exhibition, Scher and Chwast have been honored with PMA’s prestigious Design Excellence Award, given by Collab, the group of design enthusiasts who support the modern and contemporary design collection at the Museum.
The exhibition has been designed by Scher and Chwast and is installed in the Museum’s Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building, where a riot of arrows directs visitors to the entrance of the Collab Gallery. Inside, the installation balances the work of each designer in facing walls filled with hundreds of posters. The double-sided arrangement contrasts the designers’ different sensibilities—Scher’s wall is typographic, while Chwast’s is more illustrative—and the salon-style hanging gives visitors the impression of the sheer volume of the designers’ output. As Chwast explains, “Packing the posters wall to wall suggests that we could go on forever—if the walls were bigger, we could have provided more posters.”
The gallery has been bookended by a pair of characteristic, giant, wall-sized letter “As”: Scher’s from her graphics for the recent TDC 58; Chwast’s from his packaging for Artone India Ink in the 1960s. The walls of posters are complemented by digital projections of thousands of images and a vitrine containing examples of publication design and books.
Exhibition photos by James Shanks.