Foot fetish

January 7th, 2011 by Zachary Sachs

Seymour Chwast Collection: Drawer 37, Item A18. Push pin studios change of address announcement, 18 × 26 in., 1980.

Surrealism was central among the numerous historical graphic styles appropriated and reinterpreted by the artists at Push Pin Studios. In these posters (and in countless other examples in Push Pin Graphic), they take the typically surrealist device of anatomical synecdoche (the part representing the whole) and draw it through the contemporary visual language of advertising: the foot by itself is rendered as it might appear in an advertisement for shoes or stockings, but altered—often absurdly—to more wryly reflect the owner of said foot.

Seymour Chwast Collection: Item P3. Print on silvered paper, 9 × 12.5 in.

This print appeared in The Push Pin Style, and here, as there, is difficult to understand through a reproduction: the image is printed on a reflective ground. My (somewhat hastily digitized) version above looks very little like the image in the monograph. (But, I think, conveys in some small way the original’s weirdly-successful color palette.)

Milton Glaser Collection: Drawer 16, Folder 22. Poster for Biblioteca Quinto Centenario, 19 × 28.5 in.

Seymour Chwast Collection: Item O16. Crayon and collage on cardboard, 18.5 × 20 in.

Glaser’s examples in particular show a layering of disparate styles and the application of conventionally incompatible formalist devices: below he takes a perhaps more familiarly modernist approach to series and iteration, which he often uses to contextualize and emphasize difference and particularity.

Milton Glaser Collection: Drawer 21, Folder 31. Poster for Morris A. Mechanic Theater, Baltimore; 24 × 36 in. 1979.

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↓ 1 Comment

  1. Man, talk about a great post! I’ve stumbled across your blog a few times inside the past, but I usually forgot to save it. But absolutely not again! Thanks for writing the way you do, I truly appreciate seeing somebody who actually has a viewpoint and is not just regurgitating junk like the majority of other writers today. Keep it up!


A treasure trove of art and graphics from The Milton Glaser Design Archives. Rare, unseen printed work, original art, and drafts for design and illustration by Glaser, Heinz Edelmann, Seymour Chwast, George Tscherny, James McMullan, and others. For even more design ephemera and art from the School of Visual Arts, see also


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