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Exhibition| Ross MacDonald: Hidden in Plain Sight – Props for Film, TV, and Theater

May 31, 2018 @ 9:00 am - July 31, 2018 @ 4:00 pm

Film and theater pros by Ross MacDonald

Ross MacDonald is perhaps best known as an illustrator, yet all the while he has led a secret double life designing and fabricating props for over 40 movies and television series. Type Directors Club is pleased to present this fun exhibition Hidden in Plain Sight and give a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how movie, TV, and theater props are created.

Ross has made everything from the book Bradley Cooper’s character throws out the window in Silver Linings Playbook, to the titular Book of Secrets for the second National Treasure movie; Jennifer Lawrence’s mop patents for Joy; baby’s favorite book in Baby’s Day Out; Nucky Thompson’s checkbook and Arnold Rothstein’s calling card for Boardwalk Empire; the morgue toe-tags in The Knick; the Pawnee town charter for Parks and Recreation; the Red Apple Tobacco tin in Tarantino’s Hateful Eight; Versace’s book in the latest season of American Crime Story; and thousands of other props, many of which which are featured in the show.

Ross has brought his actual props to the Type Directors Club, so you can leaf through Prohibition-era FBI wanted posters from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, the 1990s personals paper used by Jennifer Lawrence to hunt for love in Joy, and the spooky book that plays a lead role the 2017 horror film The Walpurgisnacht. There are many Western props from The Hateful Eight and one corner of samples of his letterpress work.

Take a look at the photos and video of the exhibition in our Flickr album.

Ross MacDonald’s work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Time, Spy and Rolling Stone. He has authored and illustrated 4 children’s books, as well as the adult humor books In and Out with Dick and Jane, (with co-author James Victore) and What Would Jesus Craft? MacDonald recently designed the bandana worn by Justin Timberlake in the 2018 Super Bowl halftime show. Ross also runs Brightwork Press, where his ever-deepening knowledge of period typography and letterpress printing has helped lend further credibility to his prop work.

This exhibition kicks off with a reception and talk on May 31 and is on view at Type Directors Club through the end of July. Call 212-633-8943 or email for an appointment.

Ross MacDonald’s website:

Ross MacDonald’s Drawger page:

Watch Ross MacDonald’s talk at Type Directors Club here.


May 31, 2018 @ 9:00 am
July 31, 2018 @ 4:00 pm
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