Five Lesser-Known Works from Push Pin’s Archives – Eye on Design
Cool Rock, Hot Rolls
John Alcorn, 1969 (Collection of Stephen Alcorn)
Most of us are familiar with the iconic work by Glaser and Chwast but there were so many other lesser-known designers who contributed beautiful work during their time at Push Pin. John Alcorn, who lived till age 56, was one such designer. Poster House worked with Alcorn’s son who loaned most of his father’s work for the show due to the limited amount of prints still available for sale. Alcorn’s work was a key component in the development of the commercial psychedelic style of the time. “There were the San Francisco rock scene poster designers, and then there was John Alcorn,” Lippert says.
One of his posters featured in the exhibition is the 1969 print Cool Rock and Hot Rolls, advertising an event that was sponsored by the Cooper Union Alumni Association. “It was essentially an all-night dance party advertising to a crowd that’s the equivalent of what today’s hipsters would have been then,” Lippert says. It’s an image of a larger-than-life female figure, adorned with various suggestive foods like voluptuous bread rolls and a slice of cherry pie, all strategically placed on her naked body. “It’s obviously very erotic,” Lippert says, indicating the giant sausage looming in the background, “and yet it’s still so beautiful.” Alcorn drew the image on rough Strathmore paper with a lot of tooth so there’s a textured grain that is still visible when reproduced as a poster.
“Alcorn was very aware of how limited the budget was because this was an Alumni Association so it’s only two colors; even though when the colors are blended and shaded, it looks like it’s four or five colors. Everyone at Push Pin had a very economic sense for printing and color and knew how to make the most with the least.”