The Tolerance Project Exhibition: A Photo Gallery
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is proud to host the TOLERANCE PROJECT, showcasing a selection of posters by contributing artists from around the world. Launched by artist-activist Mirko Ilić, the project was inspired by the annual “House of Tolerance” festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, an important platform dedicated to reminding the public of the horrors of the Holocaust and advocating for positive social change. This poster project is similarly an urgent reminder of the importance of tolerance in these difficult times and finds a natural home at The Cooper Union, which has served as a New York City beacon for social activism, education, and advocacy for more than a century and a half.
Cooper’s Foundation Building, located between the city’s wealthier neighborhoods further uptown and the historically poorer sections of the Bowery, helped establish its Great Hall as a transformative public gathering place for people from all walks of life. The Great Hall provided a platform for some of the earliest workers’ rights campaigns as well as for the birth of the NAACP, the women’s suffrage movement, and the American Red Cross. Today, it remains a vital forum for debate and civic discourse that bridges diverse perspectives and brings people together around critical societal issues. The neighborhood surrounding The Cooper Union is also steeped in history that speaks to the importance of tolerance. The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, founded in 1881 to assist Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe, was for a time housed on nearby Lafayette Street in what is now the Public Theater. Important local artistic venues like La MaMa and the Public Theater, as well as Cooper students’ creative output, have over the years often reflected and amplified the ideas of inclusion and respect for others.
The poster installation includes several Cooper Union alumni, lecturers, and instructors, including Milton Glaser A’51, who designed the Tolerance project logo, Seymour Chwast A’51, Sagi Haviv A’03, Paula Scher, Steff Geissbühler, Woody Pirtle, Bob Gill, Ed Fella, Alain Le Quernec, and Saki Mafundikwa. Many of the project’s featured artists and designers exemplify a commitment to advancing inclusivity, diversity, and equality through their work. Their contributions to this project affirm the power of creativity to inspire such positive social change.
—MIKE ESSL, DEAN