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Our Own Big Top

Jeff Russ, ST’s art director, recounts the beauty of vintage circus posters




If there’s one thing that makes me happier than the Circus coming to town, it’s when signage receives recognition as the seminal art form I know it to be. Imagine my surprise when signage and the “big top” converged at the opening of the Cincinnati Art Museum’s “The Amazing American Circus Poster” exhibition.
Organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, this exhibition showcases the work of Cincinnati-based Strobridge Lithographing Co., a leading printer for the major circuses at the turn of the 20th century. These posters contributed to the success of the American circus in its “Golden Age,” when it flourished as a vital cultural institution. The exhibit features 80 posters, all created between 1878 and 1939.

The exhibition will remain in Cincinnati until July 10, when it will travel to the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL.



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