Given to the Museum in 1965 by LIFE magazine's creative director of general promotion, Jay W. Cheek, these posters—on view in the current installation in gallery 690 through December 8—were made as part of a campaign for the Pacific Northwest called "Signs of Adolescence."
For weeks, scissor-wielding high school students in Seattle cut, pasted, reshaped, or otherwise disassembled LIFE's canonical red logo. These imaginative and "fractionated" interpretations transformed LIFE's logo into shapes that define American life. Subject to a competition with over two thousand entries, only thirteen of the most ingenious were translated into screenprints for the poster campaign.
The mayor of Seattle celebrated the students at a dinner marking "LIFE Poster Day," awarding one lucky kid a trip to New York City. Although some of the posters include the name of the designer, the two on view remain anonymous. If you are one of the artists or have ideas on how to track them down, please let us know!
Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection (on view through December 8)