Since March, Lincoln Center, the NYC destination for all things performing arts, has been closed. While we wait for the stage lights to burn once again, an exhibition at Poster House takes us back to the beginnings of the complex. The exhibition, Vera List & the Posters of Lincoln Center, charts the advertising program announcing the 1962 opening of Lincoln Center, and features art from notables like Ben Shahn and Andy Warhol.
While the public is starved for live performance due to COVID, this exhibition is a reminder of all that Lincoln Center has to offer. The annual film festival is advertised in graphic, colorful posters by Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein; the Vivian Beaumont Theater, the only off-Broadway theater eligible for Tony award nominations, is represented in Ellsworth Kelly’s signature simplicity.
Although the mini exhibition incorporates just 7 posters in total, we are reminded that Lincoln Center is a true cultural gem, a destination for all things art. Throughout the complex, woven between ballet, music, opera, theater and more, works by famous visual artists are on view for all. This includes the famous Chagall paintings at the Met Opera and Calder’s ‘Le Guichet,’ just outside the Library for the Performing Arts, among others.
While I looked at the posters, I was not just awed by the incredible talent that Vera List, who commissioned them in the 60s, was able to round up for the advertising campaign, I was also wistful for what Lincoln Center gave the public night after night on its stages, for what’s been curbed since last March. However, there are glimmers of hope on the horizon. New York City Ballet has returned to the David H. Koch Theater to rehearse and the Met Opera still plans to reopen in September. Little by little, we will get there. In the meantime, this exhibition is a bright spot.
And for those curious about the public art throughout Lincoln Center’s campus, I recommend a lecture sponsored by Poster House: For the Many: The Public Art of Lincoln Center, scheduled for March 31st.