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Design Tue Jun 11 2013

Chicago Design Museum: See the Work at Play Exhibit

Work at Play is an exhibit of graphic design produced in the last 60 years, featuring the work of four important contemporary designers. The exhibit at the Chicago Design Museum, a temporary space on the third floor of Block 37, 108 N. State St., runs through June 30. (It's free, but the museum suggests a $10 donation.)

Here's how the museum describes Work at Play: "Beyond the hours at the office, we create, we make-we play. In an attempt to find our own voice, we may stumble upon a visual language that can speak for and, perhaps, inspire others. This year, we celebrate the blurred line between work and play."


Exhibit of John Massey posters. Photo by Nancy Bishop.

The exhibit highlights the work of John Massey, who is best known as director of design at Container Corporation of America, in its great days as a practitioner of the best graphic design in the US. Examples of Massey's poster series are shown in the exhibit. His Lincoln Park poster is shown below. Container and Massey were also known for the "Great Ideas of Western Man" advertising series, which CCA founder Walter Paepcke introduced in 1950.


Matt Terdich, of the UIC graphic design faculty, was co-curator of the exhibit. He said, "Massey bridged the gap between European modernism -- the Bauhaus, the Swiss International Movement -- and American modernism. He encouraged other designers to explore modernism."

Other designers whose work is represented in the exhibit are: Marian Bantjes, a Canadian designer whose clients include Penguin Books and Wired Magazine; Michael C. Place, founder of Build, a London-based design firm; Wolfgang Weingart, a German designer who studied at Basel and is known for innovative typography, including Swiss Punk. The work of 12 designers known as Re/View is also part of the exhibit.

Chicago was an important influence in 20th century graphic design, partly because of European designers who emigrated here in the 1930s. Walter Paepcke hired Herbert Bayer to work at his Aspen Institute. Paepcke also was the patron of Hungarian artist-photographer Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and financed the development of the American New Bauhaus in Chicago in the 1930s. The New Bauhaus had links to Armour Institute of Technology, which became the Illinois Institute of Technology.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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