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Abram Games 2009

Detail from Abram Games 'the blonde bombshell' ATS poster

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Abram Games : Maximum Meaning, Minimum Means

6th June - 6th September 2009

This exhibition celebrated the work of Abram Games, the graphic designer and poster artist who created many of the most memorable visual images of wartime and post-war Britain.

Abran Games poster featuring festival of Britain logo

From the propaganda posters he designed as Official War Poster Artist during World War Two, and his post-war advertisements for BEA/BOAC, London Transport and Guinness, to the Festival of Britain emblem and his pioneering screen identity for the BBC, Games created striking, often humorous images.

 

A gifted draughtsman, he applied his philosophy of ‘maximum meaning, minimum means’ to devising inventive combinations of text and images. Drawn from the Estate of Abram Games’ archive and The Wellcome Trust Collection, this exhibition traced the development of famous images such as his wartime recruitment posters – one of which, the ATS ‘Blonde Bombshell’ was withdrawn after a parliamentary debate deemed it ‘too glamorous’ – and the Festival of Britain emblem, from the designer’s first doodles to the finished work. It offered unique insights into Games’ work as one of the most inspiring of the graphic artists, who once played such an important role in visual culture, and who was the British counterpart to Cassandre in France and John Heartfield in Germany.

 

Born in Whitechapel in 1914, Abram Games was educated at local schools in East London and won a place at St Martin’s School of Art in 1930 only to drop out after two terms. Continuing his education at evening classes, he worked as an assistant to his photographer father and then as a studio boy in a commercial art studio. Games made his name during World War Two as Official War Artist and enhanced his reputation in peacetime by designing many of the visual icons of post-war Britain from commemorative stamps for the 1948 Olympic Games, to his Financial Times posters and the BBC emblem. An inventor as well as a graphic artist, Abram Games died in 1996.

 

The exhibition was accompanied by a series of lunchtime talks and family activities.

 

For more about Abram Games see:

www.abramgames.com