Milton Glaser debuted three new works in 276 New York City subway stations. The three posters - a direct counterpoint to President Trump's attack on humanity - reflect Milton's agency and commitment to justice using art & design to inspire social engagement.
Milton's signs of the time are the newest additions to School of Visual Arts' enduring "Underground Images" ad campaign that has featured a powerful curation of the College's current and former a-list design faculty including Ivan Chermayeff, Edel Rodriguez, Paula Scher and Tom Geismar for the past 50 years in NYC subways. The series has challenged millions of New Yorkers to think big, take chances and never stop learning.
"I have an objective with these three posters-although it was implicit in all the other earlier posters-that is, the role of design and art are basically roles that also include social engagement," Glaser stated. "Not only personal vision or personal talent or personal insight or genius but also an activity that makes people feel that they are involved in something together. It's kind of the counterpoint to Trumpism, which is 'me for me,' and it's a sense that we're part of a larger system, humanity itself. These posters [go] one step further as the threat to that idea becomes more evident with Trumpism.
"You cannot say things directly in communication, you have to be oblique or enter into people's consciousness sideways. Give Help. That one is an attack on that which is becoming increasingly clear: Trump's real contempt for Puerto Rico, or for people of color, and for anybody in trouble who isn't white and rich. This poster-a submerged home, and a beautiful quote by Oscar Wilde, conveys that kindness is worth more than the grandest intention. We've got to deliver on our promise to help our fellow Americans.
"To Dream Is Human. That's a bit of an abstraction, but it applies to something quite specific-Trump's attitude towards immigrants. He refers to them contemptuously as Dreamers and to [their] deportation, that we may throw them out of this country. My attempt here is to transform the worddream, which is used pejoratively by Trump, into an aspirational word. To dream is human; the most, perhaps, important aspect of humankind is the ability to dream."
"It's Not About Me, It's About We. All art ultimately is about collective experience, and 'art makes us better' is a reality that I truly believe in. It is the [antidote to] the narcissism and selfishness that exists in human nature. So [this] is a direct reflection of Trump's attitude toward the world, where everything is about him. Again it's an attack on this narcissistic, selfish atmosphere that Trump has managed to create. This is an attempt to compensate for that. In the way that art appeals to the most generous part of the human spirit, this is an attack on the most selfish parts of the human spirit."