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Graphic Design in the Mechanical Age: Selections from the Merrill C. Berman Collection Hardcover – April 20, 1998
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Deborah Rothschild, Ellen Lupton, and Dara Goldstein The look of the machine age was crafted in the design studio before machinery had been invented that could approximate it. For a poster advertising the 1924 film Kino Eye, Aleksandr Rodchenko employed crayon to mimic the continuous tonal range of photography, and hand-lettered a "machine" font of his own rather than use the old-fashioned scripts (ultimately based on handwriting) that were available on printers' blocks. A 1928 poster for a municipal pool in Germany seemingly depicts a muscled diver in midair, but a surviving production photograph shows that the swimsuited model was stretched out stiffly on a towel and "diving" into a rose bush, his clothes tossed behind him. This beautifully printed selection of 210 objects (on view now at Williams College, moving to the Cooper-Hewitt in February) forms the basis for intelligent essays on the dialectical evolutions of design and production, on the Dadaists' unwitting invention of modern promotionalism, and on the often conflicting commercial and political uses to which that exuberant visual language was turned. If today the diver and the rose-bush look like something out of Magritte, there is more than coincidence involved. Don't see the ensemble in a Fruitopia ad tomorrow? Look for it in Russian campaign posters next year.
Copyright © 1996, Boston Review. All rights reserved. -- From The Boston Review
Top customer reviews
this period of work is profound because of it's ingenuity, daring graphic experiments in text and layout, and it's use of collage, photos and text, and dada influences to create bold graphic statements. the pieces included in this volume span many different media in the graphic arts...war propaganda, art exhibition posters, product advertising, civil program posters, packaging, publishing, and even fine art.
it is a testament to this collection of designers, because many of them worked simultaniously in many different mediums all at once, especially those involved in the bauhaus movement and the russian avante-garde artists.
this book is an excellent overview of this period in graphic design, and would provide endless inspiration for anybody involved in any field of design. i cannot recommend it strongly enough!