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The Wilde Years: Four Decades of Shaping Visual Culture

October 9 - November 7, 2009
Photograph from outside SVA Chelsea Gallery glass doors, looking inside, with exhibition title visible behind desk.
Credit: The Wilde Years: Four Decades of Shaping Visual Culture, Visual Arts Gallery, October 9 - November 7, 2009


Mon, Oct 19; 5:30 - 7:00pm

School of Visual Arts (SVA) presents “The Wilde Years: Four Decades of Shaping Visual Culture,” an exhibition that celebrates designers, art directors and other creative professionals who have graduated from the BFA Advertising and Graphic Design Department at SVA. Organized in recognition of Department Chair Richard Wilde’s 40th anniversary at the College, the show will feature iconic and culturally significant works by select alumni from all four decades of Wilde’s tenure. The exhibition will be on view at the Visual Arts Gallery, 601 West 26 Street 15th floor, New York City, from October 9 – November 7, 2009.

“It is an honor to be recognized,” says Richard Wilde, chair, BFA Advertising and Graphic Design Department at SVA. “I am inspired by these alumni and proud of their accomplishments. Many have become some of the most influential and creative people working in the business today.”

The 40 years of work presented in “The Wilde Years” offer a snap-shot survey of cultural trends as expressed through visual communication and a study in seduction, provocation and power. Be it with a billboard, the morning paper or the logo on a coffee cup, “The Wilde Years” recognizes the art that is experienced by everyone and that influences us daily.

Designed by Kevin O’Callaghan, chair of 3D Design at SVA, the multi-media exhibition space of “The Wilde Years” will place familiar advertisements, book covers, CD packaging and posters within everyday settings. A comfortable reading nook will highlight book jacket design and feature covers for James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, Hilary Rodham Clinton’s Living History and Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, among other best sellers. Subway advertisements, including theatrical posters for Broadway hits like Rent, Chicago and John Leguizamo’s Freak, will be on view within a mock subway platform. A life-size bus shelter will include advertising campaigns for Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi and Showtime, while a mini-screening room will project television commercials and music videos.

The work of over 100 alumni will be represented in “The Wilde Years,” including:

  • Julian Alexander, Grammy Award winner; founder and principal, Slang Inc.;
  • Matthew Ammirati, founder and president, Ammirati;
  • Frank Anselmo, founder and principal, KNARF;
  • Debra Bishop, creative director, More magazine;
  • Andrew Christou, vice president, creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles;
  • Rodrigo Corral, founder and principal, Rodrigo Corral Design;
  • Pete Favat, chief creative officer, managing partner, Arnold Worldwide;
  • Archie Ferguson, art director, HarperCollins;
  • Craig Gillespie, director, Lars and the Real Girl, The United States of Tara;
  • Genevieve Gorder, designer and television host, Dear Genevieve;
  • Barbara Hamilton, executive creative director, R/GA;
  • Drew Hodges, founder and CEO, SpotCo;
  • Julia Hoffman, creative director of advertising and graphic design, Museum of Modern Art;
  • Hanoch Piven, illustrator and author, My Dog is As Smelly As Socks (Schwartz & Wade, 2007);
  • Mario J. Pulice, vice president, creative director, Little, Brown and Company Publishers;
  • Molly Sheahan, associate creative director, BBDO New York;
  • Jackie Seow, VP, executive director of trade art, Simon & Schuster;
  • Joey Skaggs, multimedia artist and media prankster;
  • James Victore, artist and designer;
  • Scott Wadler, senior vice president, design, creative services, MTV Networks.

The curatorial committee for “The Wilde Years” is Gail Anderson, creative director, SpotCo; Sal DeVito, executive creative director, DeVito/Verdi; Janet Froelich, creative director, Real Simple; Todd Radom, principal, Todd Radom Design; and Lisa Rettig-Falcone, group creative director, DDB Worldwide.

About Richard Wilde

In 1971, Silas H. Rhodes (1915-2007) founder and then chairman of the board at SVA, invited Richard Wilde to chair the advertising department at the College. Wilde then went on to found the graphic design department in 1974. Today, the joint department has an enrollment of more than 900 students. Over the years, the BFA Advertising and Graphic Design Department at SVA has offered new and innovative courses that have expanded the definition of visual communications to now include 3D design and motion graphics. The department’s success can be attributed to Wilde’s unparalleled ability in bringing dynamic, working professionals into the classroom.

Wilde has authored Problems:Solutions (Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1986) and with Judith Wilde, has co-authored Visual Literacy (Watson-Guptill, 1991) and 101 Ways to Stay Young (Warner Books, 1996). With over 50,000 copies sold, Visual Literacy is a required design textbook at many colleges and includes works by several of the art directors and designers in the “The Wilde Years.” Wilde is a Hall of Fame laureate of the Art Directors Club (ADC) as well as a past president.  Wilde holds a BFA in graphic design and advertising and a MFA in fine arts from Pratt Institute. He has won over 200 professional awards, including gold medals from ADC, AIGA, Creativity, The One Show and the Society of Illustrators as well as an International ANDY Award and CLIO Award. Wilde has conducted creativity workshops on five continents.

Free and open to the public