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Milton Glaser's NYC subway posters aim to bring people together in response to 'Trumpism'

By Kyle O'Brien | Creative Works Editor

December 12, 2017 | 4 min read

The man behind the iconic 'I Heart NY' design is again reaching out to people on the subway to bring New Yorkers together in Trump's America. Artist Milton Glaser has designed three new posters that are featured throughout the subway system across the city.

With these additions, Glaser has now created 27 posters for the subway as part of the School of Visual Arts’s (SVA) five-decade campaign, Underground Images.

Milton Glaser

Milton Glaser designed three new subway posters

The latest series speaks to inclusion, compassion and humanity, according to Glaser.

"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," said Glaser in an interview with the SVA, where he is a longtime faculty member and acting chairman of the board.

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His 'Give Help' poster shows what appears to be the gable of a house poking above a flood, with most of the home under water. The text says 'Give Help' along with a quote by Oscar Wilde: "The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention."

Milton Glaser subway posters

Glaser said that the poster shows Trump's contempt for storm-ravaged Puerto Rico...and "anybody in trouble who isn't white and rich". He said that the US as a country has to deliver on a promise to help fellow Americans.

He addresses Trump's attitude towards immigrants in 'To Dream Is Human' which is a colorful abstract that simply states those four words. Glaser said in the interview: "To dream is human; the most, perhaps, important aspect of humankind is the ability to dream."

The third addresses art as something that can draw us together. 'It's Not About Me, It's About We' is about art as a collective experience, with the tag, 'art makes us better'. Glaser said that the poster is the counterpoint to the "narcissism and selfishness that exists in human nature," which he sees as a reflection of Trump's attitude toward the world.

Glaser poster

All posters feature the SVA logo and website.

Design legend Glaser talked about his years of populist design in a video that reviews the many designs that have adorned the subway walls over the years.

MTA: Subway posters by School of Visual Arts


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