January exhibit asks if posters increase productivity

If you have ever wondered whether posters have the potential to inspire employees to improve their work habits and increase productivity, then “SAY IT WITH SNAP!: Motivating Workers by Design, 1923 to 1929,” is an exhibit not to be missed.

The exhibit will run from Jan. 28 to March 16, in Gallery I of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Fine Arts Building.

Artist Unknown, Mather & Company, Say It With Snap! Get ToThe Point., 1925, color lithograph, 44 x 36 inches, courtesy Ronald, Elizabeth, and Lauren DeFilippo.

Between 1923 and 1929, Chicago-based Mather & Co. answered the needs of a rapidly changing American work force by issuing colorful posters with catchy slogans designed to cajole, coax, and even admonish employees to perform at their best.

The content in these historic posters captured a moment in time not unlike our own, according to Brad Cushman, gallery director and curator, when societal changes and employment trends upset the relationship between workers and management.

The exhibit surveys the visual strategies and thinking behind 48 Mather & Co. posters. The exhibition shows how the direction of the graphic messages changed over time, shifting from incentives targeting white-collar workers and their managers in the early years to a greater focus on factory workers.

“Say it With Snap!” is co-curated and organized by Dulce Maria Roman, curatorial chair and curator of Modern Art at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla.; and Jon Williams, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Prints and Photographs at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Del.

Other winter gallery exhibits:

Gallery II – Jan. 15 – Feb. 26, 2014

Conundrum, a recent work by David Clemons, will be featured and a reception held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31.

Clemons is an artist in residence and head of metalsmithing at UALR. His work embraces metalsmithing history, techniques, and objects as a means to communicate ideas.

Many of the resulting objects rendered in metal, mixed media, and handmade illustrated artist books are vehicles to discuss the topic of identity. His work has been featured in Craft in America and in the contemporary craft collection of the Arkansas Art Center and the Yale Museum.

Gallery III – Jan. 15–29

Special Project in Painting, featuring work created in an upper-level UALR painting course dealing with the concept of the artist and working apprentices in the studio.

The exhibition features elements in forged and fabricated mild steel, bronze, and cast concrete that is focused on the power of narrative, presenting a series of visuals that suggest potential outcomes.

There are no emphatic statements elaborated within the work but instead a conceptually open range is offered to the viewer to be explored and deciphered. Seemingly commonplace objects such as crows, a lock & keys, an egg, and a cage, are mingled within the work to impart ideas of the struggle to release or discover potential.

Gallery III – Feb. 1–14 – Scholarship Exhibition

Gallery III – Feb. 20 – March 27 – Arkansas Ceramic Artists

The galleries are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 to 5 p.m. Sundays. The galleries are closed during UALR campus closings, beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20 and re-opening on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.

Contact Brad Cushman, gallery director and curator in the Department of Art, at 501.569.8977 or becushman@ualr.edu for more information.

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