Posters from a World on Pause
February 1 - March 30, 2021


The Dr. M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of UNPRECEDENTED: Posters from a World on Pause, the first virtual exhibition created by students in the M.A. Museum Administration program: Taylor Lyons ’21, Madeleine Schulz ‘21, Stephanie Zambrana ‘21, and Mengke Zhang ’22. The exhibition features approximately thirty-five posters, gifs and videotapes selected from artworks made available by the activist organization Amplifier Foundation, and by The United Nations (in partnership with the UK-based online art network and brand collaboration agency, Talenthouse Business). On view from February 1- March 31, 2021, the exhibition can be accessed through St. John’s University’s Yeh Art Gallery website.

The UN/Talenthouse project addresses public health issues emphasized by the World Health Organization: personal hygiene, knowing virus symptoms, combatting misinformation, and promoting solidarity. Amplifier Foundation, working with public health officials as well as art curators, put out a “Global Open Call,” for submissions of art that supports Black Lives Matter, promotes mental health, celebrates front-line and essential workers, fosters awareness about COVID-19 symptoms and protections, amplifies calls for social justice and envisions positive changes in a post-COVID future. These artistic responses to the pandemic offer a unified response to its threat in the absence of coordinated federal messaging about the dangers of this virus—and the social inequities on which it has shined a glaring light.

From the thousands of artworks submitted and made available through free, public domain/fair use downloads available on the two organizations’ websites, the student curators researched and organized the exhibition around themes of “Borderless Hygiene,” “Social Justice Amidst a Pandemic,” “What We Owe Each Other” and “Pandemic Heroes.” Their three-dimensional virtual exhibition includes interactive labels that contain the students’ research on every exhibited artifact. Dr. Susan Rosenberg, Director of the M.A. Museum program, who oversaw the student’s curatorial project commented, “I hope visitors also take time to visit the virtual exhibition’s second room, where they can watch a thirty-minute videotaped conversation among the student curators whose professionalism and creativity is a joy to behold.” The students reflect on the collaborative process of working on the project; discuss challenges of curating in ‘real time’ and with subject matter and iconography that will persist until the virus’s eradication; and share their optimistic views on how the pandemic may become a ‘portal’ to a better world.

Exhibition curators: Taylor Lyons '21, Madeleine Schulz '21, Stephanie Zambrana '21, Mengke Zhang '22.

Image: Pablo Espinar Ruiz (born Spain) World Pause Break, 2020. Digital Composition, GIF. Distributed by United Nations/Talent House.