Graphic Design in the Mechanical Age: Selections from the Merrill C. Berman Collection

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Yale University Press in conjunction with Williams College Museum of Art [and] Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, 1998 - Art - 206 pages
Selections from the Merrill C. Berman Collection

Drawing from Merrill C. Berman's spectacular private collection of twentieth-century posters, ads, photomontages, and graphic ephemera, this book showcases more than two hundred examples of progressive graphic design from the 1920s and 1930s. European, Soviet, and American avant-garde designers and artists of the time, using new technologies of mass production and mass distribution, marketed everything from salad oil and cigarettes to communism, utopian socialism, and the avant-garde itself.

These selections from the Berman Collection, most never before shown or reproduced in the United States, include works by well-known artists (Lissitzky, Rodchenko, Cassandre, Man Ray, and others) and by lesser known masters. The book begins by detailing Berman's pivotal role in shaping the history of graphic design as he amassed his collection. The authors then investigate the filtering of avant-garde design into mass produced posters and advertisements, the evolution of design production techniques in the Machine Age, and the avant-garde's promotion of itself.

This book accompanies an exhibition that opens at the Williams College Museum of Art in April 1998, then travels to the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in February 1999, and later to Spain, Japan, and the Henry Museum in Seattle.

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About the author (1998)

Ellen Lupton is Adjunct Curator at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and Co-Chair of the Design Department of the Maryland Institute College of Art.

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