The Westport Arts Center announces its Spring Exhibition, Main Street to Madison Avenue, highlighting many of the most significant illustrators, photographers and designers who lived and worked in Westport in the 1950s – 1970s, leaving an indelible mark on contemporary art and culture.

Main Street to Madison Avenue will be on view April 21 – June 23, 2017. An opening reception, free and open to the public, will be held on Friday, April 21 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The exhibition features two bodies of work with radically different motivations: paintings, illustrations and photography commissioned by Madison Avenue advertising agencies for iconic commercial branding and advertising campaigns – many of which originated in Westport – alongside works from the well-known Pop Art and Contemporary artists who appropriated the advertising imagery.

The exhibition will include original art and advertisements from renowned Westport illustrators such as Bernie Burroughs, Steven Dohanos and Bernie Fuchs, alongside works by contemporary artists, like Andy Warhol, Walter Robinson and Jonathan Horowitz, who were directly influenced by the iconic design and aesthetic of that era.

Amanda Innes, Executive Director of the Westport Arts Center said of the exhibition, “The 1950s and 1960s were a creative revolution in the field of advertising. Westporters played a significant role in this innovation – creating imagery that went from Main Street to Madison Avenue – and beyond into pop culture and contemporary artwork sixty years later.”

Advertising Age describes the 1950s as a time in which far-reaching advertising trends were established, and the1960s as a period in which traditional styles and formats were discarded in favor of the “new advertising,” characterized as irreverent, humorous, self-deprecating, ironic, and resonant.1

“These ‘Mad Men’ had a significant impact on our culture through today. They influenced many contemporary artists who have sought to elevate aspects of the era’s popular culture to the level of art,” Innes explained.

While the exhibition focuses on the 1950s to 1970s, Main Street to Madison Avenue spans more than eight decades, illustrating the aesthetic and technical transition of the advertising and marketing world from the 1930s to today. Paintings circa 1930 – 1950 from Hardie Gramatky will be viewed alongside the original print advertisements that featured his work; photographs by Westport artist Larry Silver will appear adjacent to the 1970s print advertisements featuring his photographs.

Aligned with the exhibition, the Westport Arts Center’s annual fundraiser gala on May 20th, Martini Madness, will also celebrate Westport’s distinctive identity as a creative center and its long history of artists, illustrators and creative executives.

To learn more about Main Street to Madison Avenue, visit westportartscenter.org or call 203/222-7070. The Westport Arts Center has completely redesigned its website, making it easier to register for events, learn about exhibitions and programs, and to get involved.

Related Events

 

Third Annual High School Student Exhibition

Opening Reception: Friday, April 21; 6 – 8 PM

On View: April 21 – June 23

Simultaneous with Main Street to Madison Avenue, the third annual High School Student Exhibition will open on April 21.  High School students throughout Fairfield County were invited to submit original works of art showcasing their creativity and artistic talent for the Exhibition. The exhibiting art work and award recipients were selected by distinguished artists Ann Chernow and Leonard Everett Fisher. The High School Student competition is sponsored by The Honorable Alan and Janet Nevas in memory of Tracy Sugarman.

 

Vintage Fashion Show

Thursday, April 27; Noon – 2 PM

Wondering what to wear to the Westport Arts Center’s annual gala, MARTINI MADNESS or just like retro fashion? Get inspired and join us for a fun and festive fashion show featuring the classic styles of the 1950s and early 1960s. Pencil skirts, full-skirted cocktail dresses, hats, jewelry and more. Fashion show curated by vintage clothiers, Sue Harmon (of Vintage by Sue Harmon) and Karen Ellman (of Vintage Virtuosa).

 

Martini Madness Gala 

Saturday, May 20; 5:30 – 11 PM

Don’t miss the party of the season on Saturday, May 20, as the Westport Arts Center celebrates Westport, advertising and art at the Fairfield County Hunt Club. Step back in time to the 1950s and early 1960s and join us in reveling in Westport’s distinctive identity as a creative center and its long history of artists, illustrators and creative executives whose iconic work in the advertising industry continues to be recognized today in both pop culture and contemporary art.

 

About Westport Arts Center

The Westport Arts Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting community through the arts, reaches more than 11,000 people annually through outstanding programs in visual arts, arts education, and the performance arts of Chamber and Jazz music.

The Westport Arts Center also receives philanthropic support from the Katherine and Howard Aibel Foundation; Artur and Heida Hermanns Holde Foundation, Inc.; AB Bernstein; the Brant Foundation; CBP; Cohen and Wolf, P.C.; Connecticut Cigar Company; Connecticut Office of the Arts; Delamar Southport; Disney Worldwide Services, Inc., DanceSport; Dragone Motor Cars; Fairfield County Bank; Finn, Dixon & Herling LLP; Fleishers Craft Butchery; 4th Row Films; GWAY Marketing Gymnasium; Hal Prince Music; the Hall Art Foundation; The Hofstetter Baron Group; J.P. Morgan; Land Rover Milford; Lillian August; the Mitchell’s Family of Stores; Moffly Media; Newman’s Own Foundation; Rosenkranz Foundation; Saugatuck Wine & Grape; Shack Sackler Foundation; Sontag Advisory LLC; Stamford Tent; Sun Hill Foundation; Verde Energy USA, Inc.; Vespa Restaurant; Wells Fargo Advisors; Westport Family Counseling; Westport Now; William J. Rosenbloom Charitable Trust; Xerox Foundation; WPKN; and WSHU Public Radio Group.

For more information, contact the Westport Arts Center at 203/222-7070 or www.westportartscenter.org.   The Westport Arts Center gallery is open Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 51 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT.

1 http://adage.com/article/adage-encyclopedia/history-1950s/98701/

 

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