A selection of NYC-ARTS Greatest Hits: a visit to Poster House in Chelsea; a celebration of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and its educational mission; a look at a work by Ammi Phillips in the collection of the American Folk Art Museum; and NYC-ARTS tags along with Manhattan florist Lewis Miller on a “Flower Flash,” one of his unique floral installations.

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(soft music plays) - [Reporter 1] Coming up on 'NYC Arts,' I'll look back at some of our favorite segments featuring the best of arts and culture in our area.

- You just see an image and you understand the purpose of the poster right away.

In fact, that's what makes a good effective poster.

If a poster doesn't communicate its purpose to you in less than a second, it's failed.

[singing] - I attended Ailey's camp in Chicago, Illinois in 2001 at the age of 13 and at the camp I learned about Mr.Ailey's history, learned about the works he choreographed and we learned to discipline.

- One of the most highly recognized American self-taught artists is the portrait painter Ammi Phillips.

In the period of 1817 to 1820 or so, his portraits are very dreamy.

They're beautiful pallets of these shimmering muted colors.

[soft music] - They are for the people.

And I want people to take them and interact with them.

Obviously take a picture but take a blossom take some home.

The more that we can have these kind of soft moments of just beauty and joy for no other reason, even if it's for an hour or 10 minutes, it's job is done.

- [Reporter 2] Funding for 'NYC Arts' is made possible by Thea Petschek lervolino Foundation, The Lewis 'Sonny' Turner Fund for Dance, Jody and John Arnhold, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Rosalind P Walter, Elise Jaffe and Jeffrey Brown Charles and Valerie Diker, The Nancy Sidewater Foundation Elroy and Terry Krumholz Foundation.

The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation and Ellen and James S. Marcus.

This program is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Additional funding provided by The Members of Thirteen, 'NYC Arts' is made possible in part by First Republic Bank.

- [Reporter 3] First Republic Bank presents, 'First Thing First.'

At First Republic Bank first refers to our first priority.

The clients who walk through our doors, the first step, recognize that every client is an individual with unique needs.

First degree, be a bank whose currency is service in the form of personal banking.

This was first Republic's mission from our very first day.

It's still the first thing on our minds - [Reporter 2] And by Swann Auction Galleries.

- [Reporter 1] Swann Auction Galleries, we have a different way of looking at auctions, offering vintage books and fine arts since 1941.

Working to combine knowledge with accessibility, whether you're a collector, a first-time buyer, or looking to sell information@swanngalleries.com [classical music] - Good evening and welcome to 'NYC Arts.'

I'm Paula Zahn.

It's been my pleasure along with my colleague Philippe De Mentebelle to bring you the very best of arts and culture in the tri-state area, whether it's music, dance film theater, the visual arts classic, or contemporary well known or newly discovered, 'NYC Arts' has provided unique access to the people in places that represent the richness of our arts community.

In this program, we'd like to share with you some of our favorite segments.

We hope they are some of your favorites as well [soft music] - From Egyptian antiquity on the city's upper East side, we now make our way downtown to West 23rd street in Chelsea to visit one of Manhattan's newest museum.

[soft music] Poster house, which opened its doors to the public in June of 2019, is the first museum in the United States devoted solely to the art history and impact of the media.

The collection contains over 10,000 posters, spanning the late 1800 to the present day.

Over 100 countries are represented.

Posters have been an important means of mass communication especially in times of crisis.

Earlier this year, in response to the pandemic Poster House partnered with Print Magazine, Times Square Arts and Four Freedoms, to launch a city-wide public service campaign.

The PSA's were seen throughout the city on nearly 1800 digital screens and billboards.

Chief Curator Angelina Lippert will be our guide to this unique addition to New York's Art Community.

- Hi, I'm Angelina Lippert, the Chief Curator of Poster House.

The first museum in the United States dedicated to the art and history of the Poster.

A poster is a public facing notice meant to persuade that marrys word and image.

This phenomenon really began in the late 1860s when Jules Cheret the father of the poster perfected the already existing color lithographic process, so that posters could be made cheaply and quickly using the full spectrum of the rainbow.

Prior to this time, posters were primarily text-based.

So they were broadsides and that required that you had to be literate in order to understand them.

Posters do away with that.

You just see an image and you understand the purpose of the poster right away.

In fact, that's what makes a good effective poster.

If a poster doesn't communicate its purpose to you in less than a second it's failed.

Poster House typically has two or three exhibitions on view at any time.

In addition to our permanent poster history timeline which you can see behind me.

[soft music] The beginning of this timeline starts with the father of the poster Jules Cheres.

So because the earliest posters are done via stone lithography, every single color making up that poster would have to be printed separately.

And by combining those colors that's how you get the full rainbow effect in any given poster.

And that's what Jules Cheres invented.

And what makes this poster incredibly special is it's actually a progressive proof.

A progressive proof is really really rare because a printer would typically only make one.

And it was a way for a printer to determine if all the different colors separated out line up and if it prints cleanly.

Cheres originally designed this for a department store.

However, it rejected it.

We don't know why 'cause it's a beautiful image.

The next stop on the poster history timeline focuses on Leonetto Cappiello the father of modern advertising.

One of the things you'll notice in this poster is that the background is a flat saturated black.

He was the first poster designer to really offset a central image with a sharp, flat saturated background.

He puts a woman in a green dress on a red horse.

But what does that have to do with chocolate?

This poster is for 'Chocolate Klaus.'

And that was the entire point.

This is the first time we see a mascot born in advertising.

In fact, people were so captivated by this beautiful image that they would go to their local store.

And instead of asking for the chocolate by name they would instead stay up, can you give me the lady on the red horse?

And that's how that brand became memorable and known throughout Paris.

[classical music] The next up on our timeline is Marcello Nizolli for Compari.

Compari has one of the richest histories and posters.

They've created literally hundreds of posters all are standout.

This is very interesting because it's Italian Art Deco.

Italian Art Deco in advertising combined a lot of different styles.

So you'll get elements of futurism, cubism and also the Italians love to play with shadow and really deep colors in their posters.

So you'll get a lot of that in this design.

[classical music] This is one of my favorite posters in the collection.

It's by the Stenberg brothers it's for the film 'The Last Flight.'

Poster design in Russia at this time under Lennon was a hotbed of creativity.

These designers rarely saw imported films before creating the posters for them.

They would just get the title or maybe a film still very minimal information.

I also often have to tell people that this is not photo montage.

The ability to insert a large photograph into posters was not really available at this time.

Instead, what the Stenberg would do, is project a film still onto the wall of their studio and then trace over that figure.

And also this style of art would made me completely illegal under Stalin.

So it's a really short, beautiful, important period in poster history.

After that, we look at the mid century posters of Switzerland and the international type of graphic style.

These posters are amazing because you get an array of printing techniques all in one poster.

After that, we focus on psychedelic posters, where we have nine amazing examples of the most important psychedelic poster artists from 1966 to 1970.

An incredibly short explosive period and poster design.

All these posters advertise the main venues for psychedelic music at that time.

So the Fillmore, the Winterland, the Avalon, as well as a ton of vans that you will absolutely know like your Big Brother and The Holding Company.

[upbeat music] After that, we focus on polisher, and her remarkable contributions to the public theater in what is now almost 30 years of advertising for one single institution.

She helped redefine how theatrical advertising was done in New York, making it as vibrant and explosive as the theater itself.

[upbeat music] For the letterpress process.

We focus on Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.

A favorite designer of mine.

He combines a layering technique that makes his posters completely unique.

He's a contemporary letter, press printer working in Detroit, which means he's making his living making posters today which is amazing.

Poster house is still collecting important posters made today.

We actively collect posters from all around the world from all major and minor ad agencies.

So please stop by and see them.

[soft music] [upbeat music] - On tonight's program.

We celebrate the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and its educational mission.

Founded more than 60 years ago by the legendary dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey.

The company honors the uniqueness of African American culture and is dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of American modern dance.

Since its earliest days, the company has provided a school where students could develop into the best dancers they could be.

Through special programs like bounding boys and Ailey athletic boys.

It nurtures young men who are uncertain of their path but it also provides opportunities through arts and education programs like summer AileyCamps for all young people to learn and enjoy dance.

- Education really fits into the broader mission of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

The company was founded in 1958 by Alvin Ailey.

He was trying to speak to the needs certainly of opportunities for people of color to be seen on the concert dance stage.

So it was mission driven from the beginning that it wasn't just about entertainment but it was about educating the public about the contributions of black people to this country.

He wanted to have an elite school because he wanted it to give opportunity for young people to have access to this art form.

But when I think of the male dancer there's still a certain stigma attached to being a boy dancer.

And so that's why some of our programs like Ailey athletic boys, bounding boys, AileyCamp really try to give that inroad for young people.

And certainly for young men who want to dance - The Ailey athletic boys program is a program designed to train young men in the techniques that we offer here at the Ailey School.

The program was created for boys to overcome the obstacle of being ostracized or being challenged with or this is for girls or, to really create a safe place that would allow them to be free and feel good about what they're doing.

Ailey Athletic Boys Dance Program because we want them to understand that you're an athlete.

And as much as people don't see dancers as athletes they are superior athletes.

♪ Hide me run to the sea - AileyCamp is a summer day program for at risk youth or underserved.

I like to say it that way.

It was one of the last programs that Alvin Ailey implemented before he died in 1989.

And what it really does is give these young people a voice.

Some of them are coming from situations that they shouldn't even be dealing with at such a young age.

And so they have these affirmations that they do.

They have drumming, especially for the boys who tend to like the drumming a lot.

They get to learn different repertory.

They get to show that creative part of themselves that give them really truly a voice a sense of ownership.

- I attended AileyCamp in Chicago Illinois in 2001 at the age of 13, my mother forced me to attend the camp.

And at the camp I learned about Mr. Ailey's history learned about the works he choreographed and we learned discipline.

Learning about Mr. Ailey's history, knowing that he was raised by a single mom.

He was introduced to dance later in life and high school learning how he celebrated his own history and his own experiences through dance really left an impact.

I had never seen art created and the genre of dance that was dedicated to the history of black Americans and black life and black experiences made me proud after seeing it make me proud to be who I am.

He saw himself as an artist, and he embraced that.

He embraced that love for art at a young age.

It gave me permission to explore that within myself.

I never in a million years prior to AileyCamp never in a million years thought I would have had, the courage to do something like that.

And it really gave me the courage to step out and learn, educate myself, push myself, immerse myself.

The work that we do as a dancer and Alvin Ailey American dance theater takes a dedication and a focus and a discipline that is required at all time.

I was introduced to that discipline at AileyCamp.

AileyCamp was the catalyst that changed it off for me.

[soft music] - We do understand that if they're not going to be a dancer that's okay.

They're gonna get more from this, that will last them in the long run, besides just the dance.

It's the discipline, it's the focus that engagement that they will understand that will take them well beyond dance.

Anything they do.

- The outreach aspect of the organization that Mr.Ailey was so passionate about is important because, it introduces underserved, underprivileged, children to the healing and discipline.

And the privilege of being changed through the arts through arts education.

It's something that we all need, not I wanna sound corny, but the arts healing, the arts healing in more ways than I can even count.

In retrospect I can look back and I can understand that, it really saved my life in ways that I don't even want to imagine my life without.

- What Alvin Ailey said is what he is really trying to do is hold up a mirror to society so that people could see how beautiful they are.

So that's at the core.

And I think if that's at the core of what you're trying to do, that we're doing a service to Alvin Ailey's legacy and I can just see him smiling.

He loved young people because I think he knew what it felt to be left out as a young person.

That was the reason that his arms were open so wide and especially to include the young people in the underserved communities.

[classical music] [upbeat music] - Next we'll visit the American Folk Art Museum, located across from Lincoln Center.

It has also reopened to visitors.

Since 1961, this museum has been showcasing the creativity of artists whose talents have been refined through personal experience rather than through formal artistic training.

Its collection includes more than 8,000 works of art from four centuries representing nearly every continent.

- One of the most highly recognized American self-taught artists is the portrait Painter Ammi Phillips.

Phillips was born in 1788 in Colebrook, Connecticut.

During his lifetime.

He painted for more than 55 years.

Today we are aware of close to 1000 portraits painted by Ammi Phillips.

In the period of 1817 to 1820 or so, his portraits are a very dreamy.

They're beautiful pallets of these shimmering muted colors.

Mostly they're very essential portraits very reductive stripped down to the essence of conveying the character and personality of whoever was being portrayed in his portrait of Rhoda Goodrich Bentley and her daughter Maria Luisa painted probably around 1817.

We have the inclusion of a few details that are significant and that are unusual in portraits by Phillips.

Her daughter is holding a slice of watermelon and she is holding a piece of pleaded cotton.

Which may be a reference to of course the cotton plantations in the South.

So we have this portrait that includes these elements that seem unusual for a middle class family in New York State.

And that seemed to be making an illusion to this very serious issue of slavery that clearly had great meaning for this family.

Ammi Phillips painted from more than 55 years, and his style underwent dramatic changes from one period to another.

Mrs. Bentley was painted at the height of what we call the Neoclassical era reflecting the romanticism and the palette associated with classical iconography and fashion the empire style dresses.

But by the 1830s there was a very different aesthetic at play.

It was much harder edged.

It was very clear, very clearly defined.

There were much deeper contrasts of color.

The American Folk Art Museum holds one of Phillips's greatest masterpieces in its collections.

And it's simply titled 'Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog'. And it's the brilliance of the red against the stark black background that sets up these just positions that are timeless and beautiful, but very very different from the earlier portraits.

[soft music] [upbeat music] - Manhattan florist newest Miller likes to brighten up New York by sharing his art with the public.

Is popup arrangements known as Flower Flashes, have appeared all over the city.

This year he's created several flashes to honor health care workers and the resilience spirit of New York City.

We joined Miller and his crew a couple of years ago on one of their early morning adventures.

[indistinct chatter] - Flowers were always part of my DNA.

I come from a family of gardeners, but I went from landscape, horticulture to the flower world.

And there I am.

The Flower Flash was something that was kind of bopping around my brain for a while.

It didn't have a name.

It was sort of more this vague idea of how to take flowers and fuse them in an urban city environment.

So it finally got to the point a couple of years ago where I was very satisfied with business things going super well and kind of needing to feel creatively energized again but also feeling the need in my own way to give back.

I'm fairly surrounded by flowers on a daily basis as are my clients.

And we tend to get immune to how beautiful they are and what an expression of joy they are to people.

And it's really about taking that which is so beautiful and ephemeral, and kind of merging it with the texture and the grit of our urban city life and creating something that's very spontaneous very fleeting and sort of abstract.

[soft music] We spend a great deal of time, really finding locations that feel New York first.

[soft music] so that combined with the season and what's looking good.

And also the Flower Flashes are accumulation of old flowers in the flower market stuff that's left over from the studio and stuff that's leftover from events.

So we have to work with that as well.

These flashes happen very quickly the planet to a certain extent then we just do it and see what happens.

There's a little, an anxious energy.

It's usually dark.

A lot of times it's cold flowers are for New Yorkers.

They are for the people.

And I want people to take them and interact with them.

Obviously take a picture, but take a blossom.

Take some home.

New York is New York.

All these people piled on top of each other.

To me the two biggest luxuries in the city are nature and space.

So the more that we can have these kinds of soft moments of just beauty and joy for no other reason.

- Thank you Jess.

- Even if it's for an hour or 10 minutes its job is done.

[soft music] [upbeat music] - I hope you've enjoyed our program this evening.

I'm Paula Zahn.

Thanks so much for joining us.

Have a good night.

- [Reporter 1] To enjoy more of your favorite segments on 'NCY Arts' visit our website at NYC-ARTS.ORG.

[classical music] - Leonard could a privilege to be able to sit down and talk with you.

- I love being here with you too Paula.

- Where are we?

- We're at a moment to take nothing for granted.

- Well, it's a pleasure to be with Martial Lithon the curator I sufficient full of hope.

We are in the midst of some of the greatest sculptures five iconic names.

[classical music] [upbeats music] - [Reporter 2] Funding for 'NYC Arts' is made possible by, Thea Petscek lervolino Foundation, The Lewis 'Sonny' Turner Fund for Dance, Jody and John Arnhold, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter, Elise Jaffe and Jeffrey Brown, Charles and Valerie Diker, The Nancy Sidewater Foundation, Elroy and Terry Krumholz Foundation.

The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, and Ellen and James S. Marcus.

This program is supported in part by public funds from the New York city Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Additional funding provided by members of Thirteen.

'NYC Arts' is made possible in part by First Republic Bank.

- [Reporter 3] First Republic Bank presents 'First Things First.'

At First Republic Bank first refers to our first priority, the clients who walk through our doors.

The first step, recognize that every client is an individual with unique needs.

First decree, be a bank whose currency is service in the form of personal banking.

This was first Republic's mission from our very first day.

It's still the first thing on our minds - [Reporter 2] And by Swann Auction Galleries - [Reporter 1] Swann Auction Galleries, we have a different way of looking at auctions, offering vintage books and fine arts since 1941, working to combine knowledge with accessibility whether you're a lifelong collector, a first-time buyer or looking to sell information@swanngalleries.com.