The “Sensation” title treatment came with the original London exhibition art, but the Brooklyn Museum wanted their own poster image to go with it. The challenge was that no single work represented the range of the whole exhibition. When I found out that actual health warnings had been posted at the London exhibition, I wrote and designed this fake health warning sign. The sign showed up regularly on the nightly news for the duration of the cultural battle that surrounded this notorious, and highly successful, exhibition.

 

This poster plays up the contrast between the ancient statue and modern graphic style, letting the audience know that although the objects on display were very old, the exhibition was very new.

 

The client initially rejected the central image of this poster in favor of a gold sword, which was the largest object in the exhibition. But when they saw the sword in black-and-white newspaper ads, they reversed their decision and went back to the swirling intricacy of this (relatively) humble little ornament.