On the California College of the Arts campus earlier this year there was an exhibition at the Wattis Institute called The Way Beyond Art: Wide White Space, which investigated how graphic design is represented in an art gallery format. The exhibition highlighted work from participants APFEL, Irma Boom, Laurenz Brunner and Julia Born, Sara De Bondt, Mevis and Van Deursen, Dexter Sinister, Experimental Jetset, Will Holder, Indexhibit, Zak Kyes, James Langdon, LUST, Niessen & de Vries, Practise, Project Projects, Yann Sérandour and Jérôme Saint-Loubert Bié, Stedelijk Museum, Sulki and Min, Mylinh Trieu Nguyen, Hansje van Halem, and Walker Art Center.
The exhibition gave way to a semester-long class, taught by Jon Sueda, called Wider White Space, in which a combination of undergraduate graphic design and graduate design students collaborate in small groups to create a series of exhibitions. The goal of which is to extend the Wattis’ recent Wide White Space exhibition and to explore the dual idea of creating a narrative for a particular designer/studio space that considers how to visually present it within an exhibition context.
So how do you show graphic design in a gallery space? The difficulty with graphic design is that often it’s meant to be physically handled, perused, looked-through, and even, sometimes, discarded.
The gallery space, which works well for fine art, with the framed images and the glass-encased vitrines, doesn’t always work as well when there’s graphic design work to be displayed.
With a budget of next to nothing, each group of students is assigned a studio and curates an exhibition from themes found in the studio’s work.
The first up is APFEL (A Practice for Everyday Life).
From the students’ description:
Warmest, Kirsty & Emma is an appropriation of APFEL’s work into a studio context. The Xerox process references the everyday ephemera of the studio while opulent materials and enlargement help to unify the sundry patterns and details as a continuous narrative. The union of the casual and precise in Warmest, Kirsty and Emma seeks to translate the disarming approach that is so central to APFEL’s work.
(Curated by Anne Kenady, Greg Johnson, Zoe Minikes and Angie Stalker)
Over the next few weeks we’ll show you what the groups came up with for each studio. Next up is Walker Art Center design studio. After that, Project Projects and Experimental Jetset.