One of the knocks perennially flying around, when it comes to phenomena of art, is that it fails to touch those making up the “normal” world. Most of us can be moved by attractive gardens, furniture, cars etc. But there are productions, ranging from paintings to movies, which don’t make any serious sense to the vast majority of the 7 billion people on earth trying to make sense of their life.

The history of art has not exactly endeared itself to those not deliriously fond of the productions of art. In fact, a Cold War has not only become entrenched; it has fed the egos of myriad arts practitioners. Solitary genius has been the go-to disposition.

But in that modern era bubbling in the 19th century and raging in the 20th, practitioners of crafts—architecture, for instance; fashion design, for instance—have found that their imperative of “practical” design has taken up fundamental factors of sensibility hitherto the exclusive regime of artists. Along this avenue of change, territorial jealousies with their gratifying hostility have remained at a fairly virulent level. However, increasingly in the 21st century, the range of fertile stimulation has expanded, and the consequences of this breach of the logjam are thrilling to behold.

At Toronto’s Harborfront Art Gallery at this time, an exhibition rigorously confronts the big surprise that is art works doubling as décor and explicit profit centres. And you know, vintage lithographic posters and illustrations have been plying these waters for many decades now!

Let’s begin our little probe with some snaps of that remarkable installation down by the Lake. The photo above, showing skills with paper, line and color, involves weight and stability. It also comprises a very serviceable aspect of corporate or residential décor.  



Evoking an asteroid or a pod or a precursor to the advent of any numbers of figures.





For the nursery? For the museum?





Jewelry? Or an abstract expressionist race across town?





Part of a movie set? Part of a corporate foyer?





Fluffing? An absorbing relief?






The extraordinary graphic artist, Arpad Elfer, selling clothes; but also selling, when the culture finally sees fit, home décor, Surrealist art…






The remarkable Steve Jobs got into fostering wide-ranging poster art just before his untimely demise!



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