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Cannabis Museum and Majestic Galleries at 20 Public Square in Nelsonville, Ohio.

Cannabis Museum shows the modern poster’s evolution through exhibit

The Cannabis Museum is a nonprofit museum focused on education and research. The museum was established in 2018 and is still working to find a place to permanently locate and open to the public. Though it hasn’t announced the location yet, it aims to find a physical space for the Cannabis Museum to officially call home by 2022. 

In the meantime, the museum has been putting on its shows in other locations around Athens. 

Currently, the museum has an exhibit located at Majestic Galleries, 20 Public Square, Nelsonville, titled “Art Nouveau and the Counterculture Movement: The Evolution of the Modern Poster.” The exhibit opened Sept. 24. 

Basil Masri Zada, curator of exhibitions and education at the Cannabis Museum, said the museum works hard to focus on research collection and preservation of knowledge about the artistic, historic, medical and industrial venues of cannabis. 

“From that background, we have more than 15,000 items of collections that ranges from all kinds of artworks, medical records, tinctures, glass bottles and others that are related to the different uses and counterculture of cannabis,” Masri Zada said.

The museum works with different partners to put on various shows. The current exhibit is in collaboration with Ohio University: specifically, the community work study program. The museum has students from OU’s arts administration program to intern as well. 

Tiana Hough, curatorial and collections management graduate intern at the Cannabis Museum, is currently a graduate student at OU studying arts administration and art history. She is currently working on her thesis, of which the current exhibit is a part.

Hough curated the current exhibit by learning more about the collection on display and researching their database. The current exhibit consists of postcards and posters, all a part of different artist movements.

“What I landed on was what you see in the Majestic Gallery, and it essentially started from me researching these Art Nouveau postcards, specifically from JOB rolling papers,” Hough said. “They did art advertisements, which were represented in postcards and posters, mainly during the 1890s and early 1900s. At the same time, I was also looking at other aspects of their collection: for example, the 1960s rock concert posters.”

Hough wanted to create a bridge of both her interests in the 1890s art and the 1960s art in the current exhibition.  

“I eventually did more digging and found that they actually did connect stylistically in terms of content and subject matter,” Hough said. “In fact, the Art Nouveau movement directly influenced the 1960s Counterculture Movement art, which is what you see in the 1960s rock concert posters.”

Hough said the exhibit was mirroring different movements all within different periods of art. Hough worked with Kiana Ziegler, a former multimedia intern at the Cannabis Museum, to create the advertisement poster for the exhibit. Through the poster, more can be revealed about the meaning of the collection.

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Poster by Kiana Ziegler.

Ziegler said her tasks were to come up with visual identities for the museum and showcase them through her artwork on the poster.

The poster for the exhibit was only one of Ziegler’s many projects, and she wanted to make sure it captured the overall meaning of the exhibit. While creating the poster, Hough and Ziegler were specifically influenced by artists like Alphonse Mucha. Mucha was one of the staple Art Nouveau artists and influenced artists from the 1960s.

“His style, along with the other artists that are in the Art Nouveau period, hugely influenced artists like Stanley Mouse and others in the ‘60s who often had very similar styles in their posters,” Ziegler said, “Usually had a woman or a figure of some sort with crazy lettering. The big thing that changed was in psychedelic culture. They had the super neon bright, kind of vibrating or almost eye-hurting colors in their poster. They didn't really care as much for legibility and started doing really crazy things with text and the movement of text and style of text.”

With the enrapturing style of art displayed in this exhibit, Ziegler said it’s for all students and people interested in art in any medium. The exhibit tells a story of the Art Nouveau movement, the Counterculture Movement and the pivotal impact it had on the perception of art today.

“A lot of it, especially in relation to counterculture artwork and artwork that's related to cannabis, is a lot of just pushing boundaries and just being like, ‘This is a thing that is happening in our society, in our culture, in our world,’” Ziegler said. “I find that artists are just very inquisitive and sometimes rebellious because of it, and I think that's just really cool. That's like one of my favorite things about art.”

The exhibit will remain open until Oct. 24 and is available for viewing Friday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Masri Zada, Hough and Ziegler all encourage people to come and see the museum on its last weekend and experience the artists’ movement through the array of posters.

“I could be a good advocate for anyone who's maybe nervous about seeing their first art exhibit. They don't know what to wear, what to do or they're worried that they won't know anything,” Hough said. “I would say just forget all that and just go and see what you can get out of it. Have an open mind, and just enjoy it.”


Kayla Bennett

Managing Editor

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