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Announcement
September 6, 2018

Up is Down: Mid-Century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio

Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University

Millie Goldsholl, Morton Goldsholl, Wayne Boyer, Larry Janiak, and Dick Marx, still from Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Faces and Fortunes, 1959. 16 mm film, 12:48 minutes. Mort and Millie Goldsholl Collection, 1942–1980, Chicago Film Archives.

Opening: Hands-On Design Lab: October 6, 10:30am–1pm
Join artist Jesse Malmed for an all-ages activity inspired by the exhibition

Opening: Conversation with Author Thomas Dyja: October 6, 2–3:30pm
Thomas Dyja, author of The Third Coast on Chicago's design legacy

Designers in Film: Goldsholls' Cinematic World: October 12–November 2
Five screenings inspired by the Goldsholls and their contemporaries

Ellen Lupton: Design is Art People Use: October 24, 6–7:30pm
Ellen Lupton, Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper-Hewitt

Politics of the Studio: Race & Design: November 1, 6–7:30pm
Chris Dingwall and Korey Garibaldi on Goldsholl designer Thomas Miller

See the Light: Inside the Exhibition: November 7, 6–7:30pm
Curator's tour with Greg Holderfield of the Segal Design Institute

The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University announces its participation in Art Design Chicago, the Terra Foundation’s yearlong celebration of Chicago’s design legacy, with the exhibition Up is Down: Mid-Century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio (September 18 to December 9) Up Is Down is the first major exhibition to explore the trailblazing work of mid-20th century artist/designers/filmmakers Morton and Millie Goldsholl (Morton, 1911–95; Millie 1920–2012) and their Chicago-area advertising firm, Goldsholl Design Associates.

Beginning in the 1950s Goldsholl Design Associates, headed by the husband and wife team, made a name for itself with innovative “designs-in-film,” applying techniques of experimental and avant-garde filmmaking to advertisements distributed to a broad audience. The studio worked at the cross-section of art, design, advertising, and visual culture, producing television spots, films, trademarks, corporate identities, and print advertisements for Kimberly-Clark, the National Football League, Revlon, Motorola, and 7-Up, among many others. Although they were compared to some of the most celebrated design firms of the day, the Goldsholls and their designers are relatively unknown today. Up is Down will reexamine the innovative work of the firm and its national impact from the mid-1950s through the 1970s.

The Goldsholls attended Chicago’s School of Design and were inspired by its founder, the artist and designer László Moholy-Nagy. Deeply influenced by Moholy’s teachings and Bauhaus approach, with its ethos of aesthetic experimentation and social engagement, Morton and Millie fostered a similar attitude among designers working in their firm.

Featuring films, television ads, and other moving images alongside designed objects, print advertisements, trademarks, photographs, and drawings, Up is Down will be the first exhibition to illuminate the distinctive brand of motion pictures that Chicago became known for at mid-century and the ways the city served as an influential testing ground for ideas connecting art, industry, design, and film. The exhibition, its related publication, and public programs provide new context for understanding Chicago as a unique site for experimental art, design, and film that eventually gained international currency. More info

Up Is Down is curated at The Block Museum of Art by Amy Beste PhD, Director of Public Programs at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Corinne Granof, PhD, Curator at the Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University. The exhibition is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and The Mary and Leigh Block Endowment.

Opening celebration—only in Chicago

Hands-on Design Lab, 10:30am: Drop by The Block for an all-ages activity inspired by the exhibition Up is Down. Join artist Jesse Malmed to play with light and images as part of a collective animation project that celebrates experimentation and collaboration. [RSVP]

Opening Conversation, 2pm: Combining Bauhaus-influenced aesthetics with commercial advertising success, the Goldsholl Design Associates exemplified the way in which Chicago served as the nation’s design capital. Thomas Dyja, third-generation Chicagoan and author of the award-winning The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream, will discuss why Chicago was fertile ground for the Goldsholls’ work. [RSVP]

About Art Design Chicago
This exhibition is presented in conjunction with Art Design Chicago, a spirited celebration of the unique and vital role Chicago plays as America’s crossroads of creativity and commerce. Spearheaded by the Terra Foundation for American Art, this citywide partnership of more than 75 cultural organizations explores Chicago’s art and design legacy and continued impact with more than 30 exhibitions and hundreds of events throughout 2018.

About The Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University
Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art is a dynamic, imaginative and innovative teaching and learning resource for the University and its surrounding communities, featuring a global exhibition program that crosses time periods and cultures and serves as a springboard for thought-provoking discussions relevant to our lives today. The museum also commissions new work to foster connections between artists and the public through the creative process. Each year, the Block mounts exhibitions; organizes and hosts lectures, symposia, and workshops involving artists, scholars, curators and critics; and screens classic and contemporary films at its in-house cinema.

Admission to the museum is always free and open to all.

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