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Jens Fänge: Inner Songes

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Photo by Butcher Walsh
Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design
Photo by Butcher Walsh
Design

The Mad Men Era at MAD

By Charlotte Boutboul

July 14, 2016

In the exhibition “Eye for Design,” the Museum of Arts & Design (MAD) takes a trip down memory lane with a selection of its most popular exhibition catalogues from the 1960s and 70s, supplemented by that of the American Craft Council. These catalogue covers, created during the original “Mad Men era,” defied the norm in terms of graphic design and branding identity.

The exhibition, on view till September 18, includes work by designers like Emily Antonucci, John J. Reiss, Tony Lane, and Linda Hinrich. All were influenced by counter-culture, Pop art, and fashion trends. This accessible combination of trans-boundary elements demonstrates how the discipline, although vastly appropriated by the corporate world, remains an art form in its own right as these covers capture not only the contents of a given exhibition, but also the conceptual aesthetic of an era that still today amply resonates.

Open Gallery

Photo by Butcher Walsh

The hand-drawn illustrations, playful use of typography, vibrant colors, fresh designs, and inventive adaptions of the catalogue form, testify to the actual creative skills required in the field and reflect the museum’s expansive definition of the discipline, (then, the Museum of Contemporary Crafts).

For example, the cover of Emily Antonucci‘s The Art of Personal Adornment invokes Henri Matisse‘s famous cut-outs of full bodied women. Linda Hinrichs’ designs are close to Pop art in her use of bold design and color. Her cover design for “The New American Quilt” features the quilt Landscape in Blue (1973) by Gwen-Lin Goo, whose repeat lip pattern is reminiscent of Salvador Dalí’s Mae West Lips Sofa (1937). Tony Lane‘s “Levi’s Denim Art Contest: A Catalog of Winners” exhibition catalogues for Denim Art is perfect for the fashionista at heart—this exhibition catalogue captures the denim craze that swept through the U.S during those two decades.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design

“The graphic design included in this exhibition captures a sense of humanity, that goes missing in graphic design of the later decades of the 20th century,” said Assistant Curator Samantha De Tillio. “Today it has come back to the field through a revival of independent presses and artist books.”

designEmily AntonucciGwen-Lin GooJohn J. ReissLinda HinrichLinda HinrichsMAD NYCMuseum of Arts and DesignSamantha De TillioTony Lane

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