Pratt Manhattan Gallery presents Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018, an exhibition that explores sixty years of graphic design and art work by three influential women artist-designers: Anni Albers, Elaine Lustig Cohen, and Rosmarie Tissi. Connected by shared circumstances of identity, each is a 20th century woman connected to a well-known male artist or designer and business partner, with mutual friends, patrons, places, and communities. Working through and inspired by constraints, all three demonstrated an affinity for geometric, hard-edged forms. They made work with a common ideal, exemplars of the Bauhaus ethos: unity in art and design. In the work is a vivacity that feels always new, timeless, and individual. Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018 features a selection of art and design objects –typography, textiles, prints, paintings, posters, sculptures, trademarks, and books, design and/or art—in chronological order beginning in 1958. The three women’s overlapping careers span the arc of the Modernist era—from the Bauhaus, to mid-century Pax Americana, to Postmodernism, and into the present. Curated by Phillip Niemeyer, a graphic designer and director of Northern—Southern, a gallery and art agency in Austin, Texas. Anni Albers (1899–1994) began her career as a textile designer at the Bauhaus. She freelanced in Germany until 1933, when she emigrated to America with her husband, Josef. She taught at the Black Mountain School (1933-49). She was the first woman designer to have a one woman show at the Museum of Modern Art (1949). Her book of collected writings On Designing (1959) is considered a classic in design thought and an important text in the lineage of the "design thinking" discipline. Later in life she explored print as a medium for design and art work. She worked and wrote until her death. Elaine Lustig Cohen (1927–2016) learned graphic design working with her first husband, Alvin Lustig. Alvin lost his vision before he passed—Lustig Cohen would create his designs based on his spoken instructions. After Alvin's death in 1955, Lustig Cohen worked as a freelance designer in New York. She designed the typography for Philip Johnson's Seagram Building (1956) and the iconic graphics for the seminal Primary Structures exhibition at the Jewish Museum (1966). In the 1970s she painted, often large and subtle geometric compositions. A group of her paintings were recently shown at Philip Johnson's Glass House (2015). Rosemarie Tissi (1937–present) was published in the Neue Graphik (1957) while still at student in the Swiss School of Art and Craft. She founded the studio O&T with Siegfried Odermatt in 1968. Tissi has been a member of AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale) since 1974, and ADC (Art Directors Club) since 1992. She is the recipient of numerous awards and prices including three Swiss Federal Scholarships for Applied Arts. She still works today. Opening reception: March 1, 6-8 PM
Posts tagged with "Josef Albers":
Pratt Institute's Manhattan Gallery is hosting a chronological exhibition of the work of three 20th-century designers whose careers spanned most of the modernist era. The roughly two-month-long show covers the work of Anni Albers, Elaine Lustig Cohen, and Rosmarie Tissi, three designers whose lives crossed paths with famous men but who were successful in their own right. In chronological order, Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018 highlights typography, prints, sculptures, books, paintings, and more from the three practitioners, who tended to produce highly geometric forms across media. Lustig Cohen learned graphic design from Alvin Lustig, her first husband, who would dictate his ideas to her after he lost his sight. She did the typography for Philip Johnson's Seagram Building, and is known for her large geometric paintings from the 1970s. Albers, meanwhile, was an influential textile designer for the Bauhaus, and later emigrated to the United States, where she taught at the Black Mountain School (1933-49). Though many may know her as the wife of artist and educator Josef Albers, she was the first designer ever to get a solo show at MoMA, in 1949. Tissi is the only surviving member of the group. She founded O&T (Odermatt & Tissi), her eponymous studio with Siegfried Odermatt, in 1968, and she is still in practice today. Tissi designed the poster for the show, pictured at top. Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018, which runs from March 2 to April 28, is curated by graphic designer Phillip Niemeyer, who also directs Northern-Southern, a gallery and art agency in Austin, Texas. An opening reception is scheduled for March 1 from 6 p.m.–8 p.m.; more information on the exhibition can be found here.
In The Experimenters: Chance and Design at Black Mountain College, Eva Diaz describes the discordant yet equally hermetic teaching methodologies of Joseph Albers, John Cage, and R. Buckminister Fuller that were developed during the years immediately following World War II at Black Mountain College. The “unaccredited college in rural Appalachia became a vital hub of cultural innovation” and was known primarily for artistic experimentation and its holistic aim “to educate a student as a person and a citizen.” It had a major impact on what would become contemporary artistic practice during and after the mid-1940s and early 1950s. Located in western North Carolina, the college’s history presents a dynamic narrative of radical innovation in terms of educational philosophy. In addition to Albers, Cage, and Fuller, other famous participants include Merce Cunningham, Clement Greenberg, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, and Robert Motherwell. Among many prominent students, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, and Kenneth Noland contributed to the college’s reputation for free experimentation and artistic diversity. While Diaz is clear in her estimation that this study of “rival methodologies” as practiced by Albers, Cage, and Fuller help to uncover three of the most “clearly articulated positions” of this period at Black Mountain, it remains questionable as to whether or not this clarity has embedded within it a sense of priority. Based on Diaz’s expertly layered representations of the three methodologies, Albers could be thought of as the composite of Cage and Fuller, though Albers is by no means limited in his vision of the “mutability of perception.” There are many similarities among these men, and Diaz’s instinct to place the comparison within the context or theme of experimentation and even process to an extent makes a lot of sense. It is the suggested nuances of approach that challenge the clarity of the three positions. As Diaz points out, all three subjects are invested in new perceptual strategies and their formal implications, progressing culture, exploring the dynamics of habit or pattern in order to break them, ethics, degrees of order and disorder within a clearly defined testing ground, and in some instances, “total thinking.” In spite of this, it is Albers who seemingly holds his institutional role and investment in a codified educational program most sacred. This is reflected in Rauschenberg’s sentiments, included by Diaz, in an interview years after he studied with Albers: "I’m still learning what he taught me, because what he taught me had to do with the entire visual world." One of the most interesting parts of the book is Albers’s response to Rauschenberg’s comments from the interview, which has a lot to say about the striking similarities between Cage and Albers that are far from obvious. Albers responds to the comments in terms of the “combination,” and the changing of surface qualities in Rauschenberg’s work. He admits that the study of the “changing of articulation” was very exciting, and he recognizes this in Rauschenberg’s vocabulary. It validates Albers’s influence on the painter while suggesting a subtle alliance with Cage—if one associates Rauschenberg with Cage. Diaz’s multi-layered analysis allows one to locate a multiplicity of such connections and in turn form a personal relationship with the text is on a level of self-illuminated analysis. This ability to discover counterintuitive connections or hidden alliances, call it a richness, is not obvious in Diaz’s agenda, but is among the author’s greatest gifts to the reader. Secondary to this, her digressions, which in the chapter on Cage seem most interesting and include analysis of Cage’s appropriation of Erik Satie’s The Ruse of Medusa (which signified a major departure from the methodical theatrical events at Black Mountain influenced by the Bauhaus productions of the 1920s) and significant discussion of Antonin Artaud’s influence on Cage in the context of the French dramatist’s seminal collection of essays, The Theater and its Double, are most enticing. Whether one buys into the surface rivalry between the Albersian project with that of the explorations of Cage and Fuller or locates secret alliances among the hermetic camps that suggest some similarity between Albers’s color studies and Fuller’s geodesic domes, it is clear that the tensions at Black Mountain relate a parallel narrative concerning the Bauhaus and its relationship to experimental art, which in the end, Diaz describes as “porous.” The epilogue, though somewhat brief in comparison to the cultivated chapters on Albers, Cage, and Fuller, describes the trinity’s influence on movements that follow quite succinctly. Though this investigation by Diaz could have benefited by the inclusion of more student work to support the clarity of the three positions, The Experimenters: Chance and Design at Black Mountain College presents a nonetheless moving account of an alternative to expressionism that is synonymous with this very exciting period of divergence at the university before its doors closed in 1957.
Beginning on July 1, the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) will host Randy Shull/Wide Open: Architecture and Design at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, an exhibition that marks the completed renovation and expansion of the BMCM+AC, located in Asheville, North Carolina. Phase One of the project, led by artist and designer Randy Shull and J. Richard Gruber, PhD, Director of the newly launched Architecture + Design Institute (A+D@BMCM+AC), spanned from 2014 to 2015. The museum re-opened on January 30, 2015, following a renovation of its original site, at 56 Broadway Street, along with an addition. The addition created retail space, a gallery, and a BMC library and study center. The conversion of a property across from the museum, 67 Broadway Street, comprises Phase Two, which began last year. This 2,400-square-foot space will host exhibitions, performances, and public programs as well as house offices and storage space for BMC work when it opens on July 1, 2016. The exhibition celebrates “the enduring legacy of Black Mountain College (BMC, 1933-57) through the lens of its architecture and design program and the influential innovators who taught there,” notably: Josef Albers, a Bauhaus master who transformed the institution as a teacher; his wife and artist, Anni; and Buckminster Fuller. Shull’s custom-made furniture and exhibition displays were inspired by Albers and some of its components are permanently integrated into the space: graphic panels, hand-built furniture, and a customized pegboard display system. Also featured are photographs of Shull's work that as it relates to BMC. Asheville-based Susan Rhew Design collaborated with Gruber and Shull to develop a clear identity for the museum, Randy Shull/Wide Open, and other related materials. Dr. Gruber praised Shall's work, stating: “The new gallery space Randy created is eloquently synced with the original site across the street, the educational and artistic mission of BMCM+AC, and the spirit of innovation and experimentation that was a BMC hallmark. Like the Bauhaus masters who taught at BMC, he has blurred the lines between art, architecture, design, and traditional notions of craft." The exhibition will be open until September 3.
Miss out on your Bauhaus opportunity because you were not an artistic youth in 1920s and 1930s Germany? Now, architecture and design enthusiasts can revive their desired pasts as students at Walter Gropius’ iconic design school, at least in sleeping accommodations. The Bauhaus School of Design in Dessau, Germany has converted one of its studio buildings into a boutique hotel with dormitory-style rooms for overnight rental. Visitors can spend the night in spaces that once housed some of the biggest names in modern architecture, when they were still just students. From 1923 to 1935, the Bauhaus studio building contained 28 rooms for architecture students studying at the school. Now, hotel clients can choose from 20 different spaces, each furnished with the steel tube furniture of architect, designer, and former Bauhaus instructor Marcel Breuer in recreation of the original dormitory accommodations. Select rooms have been designed to reflect some of the Bauhaus’ most famous alumni. Beginning in late October, these specialty rooms can be rented out, according to the visitor’s architectural preference. Among these dorms, the New York Times’ T Magazine says, is a room in the style of Josef Albers that contains replicas of the furniture he created for himself while at the design school and another, representing architect Franz Ehrlich, decorated with furniture he designed for the German Democratic Republic in the 1950s. The Bauhaus Studio Building offers single accommodations from €35 and doubles from €55. But, be warned, like in the Bauhaus’ student dorm days, bathrooms and showers are communal and accessed from the hallway.