Not To Be Missed: Globe Posters
True to it’s title, it’s not to be missed.
You probably know the posters even if you don’t know the name of the printer. Especially if you were in any of America’s inner cities in the Sixties, Seventies or Eighties. You remember them: they were those bright dayglo cardboard concert posters. They were stapled to plywood walls and wrapped around telephone polls. They were advertising for live concerts. Now they’re a series of graphics illuminating the history of Black music.
A brief digression: in the mid-70’s I ripped a Globe Poster off a wall in Jackson Mississippi. I had no idea it was a Globe Poster. It announced a concert at the Mississippi Coliseum by BB King, Bobby Blue Bland, Albert King, Little Milton, and several others. It promised seven live bands.Admission was $5 in advance. I took the poster from that plywood wall on Farish Street in a moment of clarity: I knew it was an important piece of the American history of art and music. And I wanted it. To my astonishment, I recognized that instantly, without a lot of analysis.
I preserved the poster and framed it. It has become a priceless treasure. Eventually I saw at the bottom that it was made by Globe Posters in Baltimore (at the time they were at 129 Market Place). From time to time I would wonder how I could get my hands on more posters like it.
Imagine my surprise when I read that Globe Posters, the Baltimore printing company, was finally folding, a casualty in 2010 of electronic media and the mainstreaming of rap music, among other things. Would I find all of their remarkable posters lying in a dumpster for me to rescue, to cram into the trunk of my car, or would they be found rotting in a slimy landfill and lost forever? Goddess be praised, neither. Globe’s extensive, iconic collection was purchased by Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and preserved. And now, around the corner from where Globe last manufactured its posters on Bank Street in Highlandtown, there’s a museum show of the posters at Creative Alliance.
Curated by Chloe Helton-Gallagher for her MFA thesis,this remarkable show is as much about the history of African American music and changing tastes as it as it is about the posters themselves. Want to prepare for a visit? I'm recommending James Brown of Spotify.
This show is truly not to be missed.