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The poster gallery

October 02, 2003|Adamo DiGregorio and David A. Keeps | Special to The Times

Stuck to the wall, posters announce adolescent obsessions with pop stars and sports heroes; framed and hung just so in the hall or den, they telegraph adult tastes in art and foreign liqueur.

If you've outgrown Picasso's bouquet of flowers, Art Deco travel posters or Carlo Biscaretti's anisette-chugging chimpanzee, there is a world of suitable-for-framing posters still left to discover.

In 1993, graphic superstar Milton Glaser sat on a selection committee that honored the 100 best European and American posters from 1945 to 1990. Bill Goldberg of Verve Contemporary Arts in Los Angeles, who deals in "posters that are art pieces," tracked down all 100, which range from a German road-safety advisory to a mental-health ad.

Want to be rocked? For the last 50 years, the poster has found champions in music-loving designers. While Frank Kozik and other contemporary illustrators have repositioned the concert poster as a collectible, traveling exhibitions such as the San Diego Museum of Art's "High Societies" shed a black light on the Day-Glo, psychedelic grandeur of '60s poster art. For recent works and such classics as the original Woodstock poster, check www.concertposters.com.

Film fans can get their poster fix all over town, but for something remarkable, try the Weidman Gallery on La Cienega Boulevard. Among its collection are an original 1976 one-sheet for "Taxi Driver" and posters with the stark graphics of Saul Bass, who designed classic posters and title sequences for Hitchcock and Scorsese. In a similar, less expensive vein, www.barewalls.com has an extensive stock of Russian film posters by the Stenberg brothers in the sharply geometric, early 20th century Constructivist style.

Thinking outside the box? One of the hottest trends is hanging up old-school teacher aids, such as maps and anatomical study illustrations, or arranging vintage vocabulary flashcards and penmanship charts to make an eye-catching display.

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