Talking Walls: Visual Literacy through Interdisciplinary Dialogues

This exhibition highlights a selection of posters from the Archives and Special Collections, RIT Library, Rochester Institute of Technology. The poster collection contains over 1,250 posters. The collection of advertising and promotional posters is international in scope with publication dates ranging from the late nineteenth century through the 1970s. The collection serves as a valuable primary source for the study of twentieth century design and illustration and includes examples of the work of many notable modern artists, illustrators, and designers. This exhibition allows the RIT community and others to see these treasures within the context of an interactive and interdisciplinary learning experience.

This exhibition invites faculty, staff and students to participate in an interactive dialogue to enhance visual literacy. Every day we are constantly bombarded with visual images. In order to increase our visual literacy, analysis of any form of art can increase our knowledge of how we view the world. In a recent article in the New York Times, Marcia Tucker writes about the new exhibition strategies in the museum world. She states that, "it has become essential for gallery visitors, to feel some connection between the art they see and their everyday lives." Talking Walls proposes to develop our connection to the art we see and how it affects us.

Over the past year, faculty, staff and students have been asked to write a 100-word text label about one of the posters. Representative faculty from all Colleges within the Institute have participated along with several staff members. Professor Roger Remington's Graduate Graphic Design class wrote essays. In addition, Professor Diane Hope's Visual Communication class wrote essays. These labels appear adjacent to the poster.

Concurrent with the physical exhibition is an on-line World Wide Web counterpart at Viewers can continue the discussion by submitting their own responses to the posters. We encourage you to take part in the dialogue! Curators Roberley A. Bell, Professor, Foundations Department, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences Kari E. Horowicz, Art and Photography Librarian / Archivist, RIT Library R. Roger Remington, Professor, Graphic Design, School of Design, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences


This exhibition would not have been possible without the participation and comraderie of numerous individuals.

First, an enormous thanks to Provost Stanley D. McKenzie and the 1999 Provost Productivity Grant Committee which provided funding for the Web Site and partial funding for the exhibition.

A special thanks goes to Betsy Murkett, Bevier Gallery Manager and the Bevier Gallery Committee for approving this exhibition. Betsy Murkett provided invaluable assistance and expertise in the myriad details related to the exhibition installation and opening.

Grateful thanks is given to the following people for their contributions:

Roger Remington, Professor, Graphic Design and Roberley Bell, Professor, Foundations Department, as colleagues and co-curators.

Patricia Pitkin, Director, and Chandra McKenzie, Associate Director of RIT Library for their support and encouragement.

All the professors, staff and students who contributed essays. Their dialogue makes the exhibit come alive.

Roger Remington, Professor, Graphic Design and Diane Hope, Kern Professor in Communications, for engaging their students in the writing process.

Students in Roger Remington's graduate Graphic Design class for developing the prototypes for the logo and Web Site.

Doug Manchee, Professor of Applied Photography, for his assistance in photographing the posters.

Nathan Martel, Archives Assistant, for his creation of the final logo and Web Site.

Teresa Kellet, Reference Assistant, for her assistance on the Web Site.

Julia Nitzsche for the immense task of creating the labels.

Cory Card and Haley Shaw for their assistance with the exhibition installation.

City Frame for their expert framing of the posters.

University of Rochester Libraries Preservation Department for the encapsulation of the posters.

Kari E. Horowicz
Art and Photography Librarian / Archivist
RIT Library