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NEW YORK — The new exhibition “125 Icons” celebrates the work of Pratt alumni and faculty, and organizers couldn’t resist throwing in a few extras.
Staged at the school’s Manhattan location at 144 West 14th Street, the show covers the past 125 years dating back to Pratt’s inception. Images of cartoon characters Betty Boop and Tom and Jerry, a 1955 Ford Thunderbird, Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis” airplane and the Chrysler Building are among the Pratt-related designs on display. Howard Richmond’s Life magazine logo, a Vera Maxwell ultrasuede dress, George Lois-designed Esquire covers, a “Fantasia” video with Bill Garrity’s sound engineering and Alfred Mosher Butts’ Scrabble board game are also on view. Frank Eliscu was in his early 20s when he sculpted the Heisman Trophy in 1935.
From the fashion arena there are also images by Lillian Bassman and snapshots of Norman Norell’s designs, as well as actual ensembles by Betsey Johnson and Jeffrey Banks. It was a Pratt alum, Kermit Love, who dressed Big Bird by figuring out the feather application for Jim Henson’s big-beaked friend. Viewers will also find Ted Muehling jewelry, Marc Rosen’s “K.L.” perfume bottle for Karl Lagerfeld and Robert Mapplethorpe’s album cover for Patti Smith. And Lucia DeRespinis had a hand in creating Dunkin’ Donuts’ logo in 1980 even though she never reaped rewards from her suggestions.
Michael Gross’ “Ghostbusters” movie poster was a favorite with the 6,000-plus people who voted for their favorite Pratt designs online to help whittle down the choices. During a preview of “125 Icons” on Wednesday, Todd Galitz, vice president for institutional advancement at Pratt, said, “When we were setting up the exhibition, it occurred to me that this is an interesting way to tell the history of art, design and architecture in America just with things that Pratt created.”