One-time boyfriend of Eva Hesse, student of Josef Albers and Franz Kline, Victor Moscoso (born 1936) brought sophisticated concepts of color and composition to the burgeoning fields of psychedelic-rock posters and underground comics in the 1960s.
After studies at Yale and Cooper Union, Moscoso traveled to the Bay Area, where he saw advertisements for local concert venues that featured wavy typography and elastic graphics. His innovation was to objectify lettering – in a placard for the Doors, he used a rich cyan rectangle punctuated by glowing negative spaces of magenta to spell out the band’s name. The young artist broke the supreme commandment of advertising – hit ’em hard with the product name – by forcing viewers to linger and study the interlocking text in order to discover the “who,” “what,” and “where” amid starkly contrasting colors and labyrinthine compositions.
Moscoso’s comics merge shifting, illusionistic perspectives reminiscent of M. C. Escher with surrealistic vistas harboring characters and typography lifted from popular culture, everything warped into mind-bendingly sinuous (and, at times, sensuous) graphic journeys.
It’s fascinating to see these original ink drawings – brown and spotted with age and vestiges of rubber cement – next to the finished posters, still as vibrant as the idealistic age they promoted.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. Starts: March 18. Continues through April 25, 2015