Modern graphic design from the mid-’30s through the mid-’60s looms large in the legend of our field. This was the epoch of the innovative idealists, heroic rationalists, and playful revolutionaries. Some of the known and uncovered work of this time is in a new exhibition, “graphic Modern: USA, Italy and Switzerland 1934–66,” on view until July 26 at Fordham University’s Center Gallery, in New York City.
From the experimental to the playful to the rational, Modernism’s idealism is a testament to its vitality and long standing. Bringing together over 75 works from Display, Graphic Design Collection, graphic Modern serves as an overview of this important period and features advertisements, periodicals, posters and ephemera examples from over 30 design pioneers including Herbert Bayer, Lester Beall, Karl Gerstner, Franco Grignani, Max Huber, Alvin Lustig, Herbert Matter, Bob Noorda, Paul Rand, Emil Ruder, Studio Boggeri, Ladislav Sutnar and Massimo Vignelli, among others. The varied and unique styles of these designers are the foundation for the visual language of today and presumably, tomorrow.
Tomorrow at 5 p.m., an informal talk and walk-through of the exhibition will take place, hosted by the curators, Patricia Belen and Greg D’Onofrio. Belen and D’Onofrio are designers, writers, and partners at Kind Company, an independent design office in New York City. Display, the website they founded in 2009, is a platform for research, writing, and discoveries in graphic-design history. Their exhibition is sponsored by the Department of Visual Arts at Fordham University, with assistance from Abby Goldstein, associate professor, and Jaclyn Deihl, B.A. 2012.
For more Steven Heller, don’t miss his upcoming live DesignCast, “Researching Design History: From a Personal Perspective,” taking place on Wednesday, June 27.