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REDCAT Exhibition Celebrates 50 Years of Graphic Design From CalArts

REDCAT Exhibition Celebrates 50 Years of Graphic Design From CalArts

Photo: Brica Wilcox. Courtesy of REDCAT.

Inside Out & Upside Down: Posters from CalArts 1970-2019 provides an in-depth look at an unseen history of CalArts and graphic design practice in Southern California
The new exhibition, series of conversations, online platform, and new publication reveal CalArts’ role in the history of contemporary graphic design, while also reflecting on inclusion and representation in the design field

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 26, 2020) -- Opening virtually today, The Gallery at Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) presents Inside Out & Upside Down: Posters from CalArts 1970-2019, an exhibition featuring over 300 student and faculty-designed posters from the remarkable -- and long unavailable to the public -- CalArts Poster Archive ( 

This comprehensive retrospective surveys the history of graphic designers producing experimental work for the numerous artists, musicians, performers, dancers, and thinkers that have visited the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) since its founding in 1970. Featuring the work of important figures in Southern California graphic design from the last half century, including influential CalArts alumni and faculty such as Ed Fella, April Greiman, Denise Gonzales Crisp, Geoff McFetridge, Silas Munro, Brian Roettinger, Andrea Tinnes, Tim Belonax, Barbara Glauber, Zak Kyes, and others, the exhibition provides a critical look at a largely unseen history of  contemporary graphic design practice. The exhibition, along with a newly conceived publication and a series of conversations reveal CalArts’ role in the history of contemporary design, with a critical engagement with questions of race and representation in the design field.

“As a site of formal and conceptual experimentation, these posters are as much about the agenda of the individual designer as the event they are publicizing,” said Michael Worthington, CalArts Graphic Design faculty and the show’s curator. “Collectively, they track programmatic and pedagogical development in graphic design in Southern California and provide a visual, chronological timeline of CalArts events, performances, agendas, and issues from the last 50 years.”

While we at REDCAT prepare to reopen, virtual exhibition walkthroughs, streaming conversations, and an online platform for various interventions provide an in-depth look at the exhibition and the archive’s relationship to contemporary graphic design. A series of collaborations organized by Black CalArts alumni and show co-organizers, Tasheka Arceneaux-Sutton and Silas Munro with students, designers and artists critically engage the archive through new writings, speculative posters and conversations. These will be collected in a publication serving as a critical companion to the new book, Inside Out & Upside Down: Posters from CalArts 1980-2019. Munro and Arceneaux-Sutton's texts function as interventions in the exhibition, reflecting on issues of inclusion, omission, equity, and race in the archive, design practice and education. 

A series of virtual public programs and salons start with "Unseen in the Archives: Inclusion and Omission in Inside Out & Upside Down: Posters from CalArts 1970-2019" a conversation between Worthington, Arceneaux-Sutton, Munro, and REDCAT Exhibitions Manager Carmen Amengual at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020.

In an effort to bring the Gallery experience online, REDCAT worked with the Los Angeles Experience Design team of global engineering and consulting firm Arup, led by Paul Chavez. Leveraging their deep expertise in immersive art experiences, Arup helped REDCAT conceptualize the online gallery show, creating a key way to showcase the work, while also encouraging audiences to visit once REDCAT is able to safely reopen. Utilizing Matterport, a 360-degree photographic technology that allows people to virtually walk-through spaces, Arup scanned the visually rich exhibit using a specialized camera and assisted REDCAT in hosting the show. 

A gallery tour video with the show’s organizers, as well as additional web content and programming, will be launched in the coming weeks.

For more information or to take the virtual tour, visit: 

Both the Inside Out & Upside Down book and exhibition mark the culmination of the CalArts School of Graphic Design’s three-year initiative to digitize the CalArts Poster Archive, started in 1990 by faculty members Shelley Step and Kary Arimoto-Mercer. Released by MW books in May 2020 and edited by Worthington, the new volume features 70 different covers made by CalArts faculty, alumni, and students and contains 525 posters, alongside interviews and essays from renowned designers and CalArtians, including Louise Sandhaus, Sarah Gottesdiener, Ian Lynam, Lorraine Wild, Jon Sueda, Gail Swanlund, Jefferey Keedy, and more. The book is available for purchase through the CalArts Poster Archive website and various online retailers.

Inside Out & Upside Down: Posters from CalArts 1970-2019 was organized by Michael Worthington, CalArts Faculty, Program in Graphic Design, with Carmen Amengual, Exhibitions Manager, REDCAT, and Tasheka Arceneaux Sutton and Silas Munro. It is funded in part with generous support from members of the REDCAT Circle and REDCAT Council.

REDCAT is CalArts' downtown center for contemporary arts, a multidisciplinary hub for innovative visual, performing, and media arts in the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. Through performances, exhibitions, screenings, and literary events, REDCAT introduces diverse audiences, students, and artists to the most influential developments in culture from around the world and gives artists in the region the creative support they need to achieve national and international recognition. REDCAT extends the tradition of the California Institute of the Arts by encouraging experimentation, discovery, and lively civic discourse. 

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater— CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions. As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institute first envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines and cultural traditions.
The CalArts Graphic Design Program emphasizes both practical and conceptual skills, and enables each designer to integrate a command of visual language with imagination, theory, and technology. Students are trained in print and publication design; web and interface design; motion graphics for broadcast and film; branding, identity, and type design, as well as for careers in design history and education. To learn more, visit

GENERAL INFORMATION: REDCAT is currently closed. For current program and exhibition information, visit REDCAT is located in downtown Los Angeles inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex, at 631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles CA 90012.