For this assignment, we had to go to the MoMA museum and look through From the Collection: 1920-1929. The pieces I choose to highlight are four of the rock and roll posters by Victor Moscoso from the wall of rock and roll posters.
These specific posters are significant to me because my parents actually own all four of these, and they definitely own more that are probably on the wall, but I distinctly recall these four. One of my dad’s childhood friends grew up to collect random things and then sell them for more than he bought them for. He did some research and found a man in San Francisco who realized that rock and roll posters would be expensive one day. He lined a room in his house with cork (so as to protect the posters from acid damage, light and air) and piled up the posters and kept them there for years. My dad’s friend came to buy them, and offered up a deal to my dad. My dad bought them in two purchases, ranging from 15-30 posters each time, also including a book called “The Art Of Rock.” A select few posters were framed throughout our house (including the four I chose from the exhibit) and the others are protected in a portfolio in our house.
When I walked into this room in the museum, I was speechless. The wall felt so deeply personal. It felt like the walls of my house were on display, like everyone around me was standing in my house. These pieces from my home have been there for my entire life. It’s a situation where I’ve looked at each poster a hundred times, but never questioned what it is, why is it, or how it is. It’s just been there. After looking through the book of artist descriptions and seeing that all the posters that I was so invested in were all by the same artist, Victor Moscoso, I decided that it was time to do some research. I felt that it was more important to research Moscoso than the specific posters, since they were all created at the same time and one was not meant to be more special than another. I focused my research on hime. I started with his Wikipedia page, just to get an outline of his life, and then I moved on to interviews with him, since there isn’t direct information besides that. Even so, the amount of interviews are little, so that was what I focused on. I learned a lot about his life and what lead him to making the posters, how he made the posters, what training he received in art school, and then what he did afterwards. The preliminary questions I had are answered in the flow chart below.
Beyond that, new research questions I have would be as follows:
- What was the creative process of making each poster?
- Why are some posters using stone lithography versus offset lithography? What’s the difference in creating the image you desire?
- How did Moscoso get started with rock and roll posters? Also, once he began, how long did it take him to learn the craft?
- Was there any significance for the colors in each poster? Did it tie into the band? What was the reasoning behind the color?
- How did the posters work with the bands? Did the bands ask for them, the venues? How did Moscoso get the orders and who was paying him?
- Did creating this iconic art pay well at the time?
- Where did Moscoso get his inspiration?
- How did Moscoso’s poster making prepare him for his next job in comics?
- In what ways did art school prepare Moscoso for poster making and in what was did it not?
- How many different posters did Moscoso create? Did each one have a lot of meaning to him?