February 20, 2018

Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018

Pratt Manhattan Gallery

Rosmarie Tissi, 2018 poster design for "Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018," commissioned by Pratt Insititute

Pratt Manhattan Gallery presents Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018, an exhibition that features sixty years of graphic design and art work by three influential women artist/designers: Anni Albers, Elaine Lustig Cohen, and Rosmarie Tissi. The three overlapping careers span the arc of the Modernist era—from the Bauhaus, to mid-century Pax Americana, to Postmodernism, and into the present day. The exhibition presents a selection of art/design objects in chronological order. We begin in 1958: Albers was an august personage entering a new phase of experimentation. Lustig Cohen was an established graphic designer, and Tissi just starting out. In the progression of the work is a pacing of the times.

Focusing on fine art and applied design in a broad swath of media and disciples, this exhibition showcases typography, textiles, prints, paintings, posters, sculptures, trademarks, books, design and/or art.

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 the Seagram Building (1957) at the behest of organizing architect Philip Johnson, 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. 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 a student in the Swiss School of Art and Craft. She founded the studio O&T with Siegfried Odermatt in 1968. She has been a member of AGI (Alliance Graphique International) since 1974 and ADC (Art Directors Club) since 1992. She was awarded numerous prizes including three Swiss Federal Scholarships for Applied Arts and won several gold medals for her work in Poland, Russia, Germany, and Japan. She still works today.

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