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Missing a deadline is nothing to laugh about…Or is it?

A reaction to the 'Wit and Vision' exhibition, by Kaia Gale

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We recently passed the registration deadline for Spring/Summer 2023 college classes at BYU. However, I didn’t register for any of them. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the deadline; I’m graduating at the end of Winter Semester! But I do feel rather nostalgic as I see friends making plans for Spring, Summer, and next Fall. Planning a new class schedule each term or semester was both exciting and stressful. At least I never had to pay a late fee if I forgot about the deadline, but during the 70s, 80s, and 90s, BYU students were required to pay a fee if they missed the deadline for class registration! That’s just one thing the artwork at the latest exhibit at BYU MOA tells us. Artists McRay “Mac” Magleby and Norm Darais created iconic posters to remind students to register for classes. These posters used to be displayed around BYU campus and are now part of BYU’s history as an art collection.

As I walked through the exhibit, I was greeted by whimsical sayings, hysterical jokes, and colorful pictures. I chuckled to myself as I admired the posters and imagined what college life at BYU must have been like during that time. The fact that the artwork was in the form of posters (and lots of them) reminded me of the lack of social media during that time. People weren’t notified of deadlines through Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok as we are today. Instead, students had to rely mainly on the posters on campus walls to keep informed of important information. One of my friends pointed out that people used to take more time to slow down and had to be more aware of the things around them since they didn’t have instant notifications from technology.

The humor stayed consistent throughout the artwork. The ultimate “dad jokes” were abundant in this exhibit! Phrases such as “Don’t be chilled by the late fee”, “frosted by the poor class selection”, and “drained by a fly-by-night schedule” resonated with me as I could just hear my dad’s voice in my head saying these same lines, especially since he’s a professor. You’re sure to either be grinning or rolling your eyes (depending on how you typically respond to “dad humor”) in this exhibit.

I also appreciated the intellectual elements woven into the posters. Stories from Greek myths and facts about animals, insects, cars, and boats were included. I gained some new knowledge and had some good laughs in this exhibit. I definitely think these posters appeal to a variety of interests, just as they did before. In fact, it has been said these posters were so popular in their day that students took them off the walls and put them in their apartments! Too bad the posters are currently behind glass, and I can’t take one as a souvenir. But I wonder if any alumni reading this article might have one of those posters hidden in an old memory box…Shhh, I won’t tell!

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Kaia Gale is a Student Marketing Assistant at the BYU Museum of Art