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Poster, Tomato: Something Unusual Is Going on Here

This is a Poster. It was designed by Milton Glaser. It is dated 1978 and we acquired it in 1979. Its medium is offset lithograph on paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

A persistent mining for inspiration from a wellspring of diverse materials and sources has become one of Milton Glaser’s identifying hallmarks. This is underscored in Tomato: Something Unusual is Going on Here, a 1978 poster by the American graphic designer with a giant tomato seated in an upholstered armchair. The idiosyncratic piece completed for Tomato Music Company (now Tomato Records), whose corporate logo is also by Glaser, promoted the independent music label’s roster of recording artists from that time. These are listed in bright green text beneath the personified produce. Floral and viney patterns decorate the rug and wallpaper, which recall Art Nouveau’s nature-inspired sinuous “whiplash” swirls. Inventive and playful, this artwork argues for a greater expressive freedom by using the devices of parody and wit, and illustrates how Glaser has expanded graphic design as a conceptual medium that at once conveys information directly and effectively. An underlying surrealist subtext suggests the subtle power of music to prosper in unanticipated places.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Let's Talk About the Tomato in the Room.

This object was donated by Milton Glaser. It is credited Gift of Milton Glaser.

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Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 91.6 × 58.7 cm (36 1/16 × 23 1/8 in.)

It is inscribed

Imprinted in red: THE TOMATO MUSIC COMPANY, LIMITED / 611 BROADWAY, NEW YORK, NY 10012 / EXCLUSIVELY ON GRT TAPE; in white, lower left: MILTON GLASER; in green: c. 1978 Tomato music Company, Ltd.

Cite this object as

Poster, Tomato: Something Unusual Is Going on Here; Designed by Milton Glaser (American, 1929–2020); USA; offset lithograph on paper; H x W x D: 91.6 × 58.7 cm (36 1/16 × 23 1/8 in.); Gift of Milton Glaser; 1979-42-8

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition How Posters Work.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Poster, Tomato: Something Unusual Is Going on Here |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=7 October 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>