- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0226811670
- ISBN-13: 978-0226811673
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 12 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,130,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Taken by Design: Photographs from the Institute of Design, 1937-1971 1st Edition
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From the Inside Flap
With nearly 300 illustrations, including many never-before published photographs, Taken by Design examines the changing nature of photography over this critical period in America's midcentury. It starts by documenting the experimental nature of Moholy's Bauhaus approach and photography's new and enhanced role in training the "complete designer." Next it traces the formal and abstract camera experiments under Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind, which aimed at achieving a new kind of photographic subjectivity. Finally, it highlights the ID's focus on conscious references to the processes of the photographic medium itself. In addition to photographs by Moholy, Callahan, and Siskind, the book showcases works by Barbara Crane, Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Joseph Jachna, Kenneth Josephson, Gyorgy Kepes, Nathan Lerner, Ray K. Metzker, Richard Nickel, Arthur Siegel, Art Sinsabaugh, and many others. Major essays from experts in the field, biographies, a chronology, and reprints of critical essays are also included, making Taken by Design an essential work for anyone interested in the history of American photography.
Keith Davis, Lloyd Engelbrecht, John Grimes, Nathan Lyons, Hattula Moholy-Nagy, Elizabeth Siegel, David Travis, Larry Viskochil, James N. Wood
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Top customer reviews
My husband keeps a copy of this in his office and periodically loans it out to students. It's probably one of the most non-returned books and so I need to reorder one occasionally. I really just need to order it in bulk.
Everyone needs at least one.
Taken by Design is a good testament to successful training in setting up a shot and trying different things to convey the 'message.' It is a real pleasure to read and look at.
This book is not just a catalog of the show now at San Francisco's MOMA. It is a rich source that chronicles the evolution of the Chicago Institute of Design (ID) and its photography program. With 6 written essays and articles, biographies, course curricula, and other background it places the ID's photographers rightfully in the middle of the late twentieth century art revolution.
The writing is authoritative, revealing and thought provoking. Some is understandably enthusiastic, by authors named Moholy-Nagy and Siegel, some is analytical/critical, illuminating the difficulties and disagreements that resolved themselves into a program like no other. Any student of photography or modern art must know about this controversial and audacious adventure that was spun off from the Bauhaus by Moholy-Nagy, Arthur Siegel and the other subjects of this chronicle.
The authors explore some of these subjects. Why was the this such an important project and why was it controversial? What effect has it had? What does it teach us today? These are important questions simply because a large number of prominent and influential students passed through it.
No serious collection of late 20th century photographs can be without 20 or so of the prints from this group. Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Ken Josephson, Ray Metzker, Linda Connor, Arthur Siegel, Art Sinsabaugh and many others all studied and taught there. Many went on the teach at places like R.I. School of Design, San Francisco Art Institute and many places in between. The influence of this group is much more extensive than its size and longevity would suggest.
At a time when the "giants" of the medium were devoted to "pure" photography, Moholy-Nagy appeared from Europe and proposed that photography be treated as a tool of graphic design. Light, texture, volume, rhythm, contrast and other elements were worth studying for their own sake in order to apply the unique strengths of photography to the art of design.
They produced something akin to Jazz. Painters like Motherwell, Johns, Rauschenberg were producing strikingly similar imagery. Paul Strand, Man Ray, Lartigue, Rodschenko and a many others had explored the same issues. The Bauhaus and the Chicago ID were an attempt to formalize the earlier experiments. Strand, Weegee, Winogrand, Blumenfeld and others contributed to the ID at various times.
The ID photographers showed how purely graphic aspects of the medium could be used to express a vision, used to dig subtle meaning from the mundane, used to reveal things in synthetic abstract that weren't visible. They expanded and elevated their medium in a very short, intense time. There is little in today's published graphics not already in the photographs of the students in this show.
An unintended consequence of this book is to have produced a key to much of abstract expressionist painting, and modern poetry. The photograph always contains an insistent link to "reality" that seems more obvious than it is in a painting, but it is no less a subject of the painter than the photographer. This show might be the trigger that makes other modern artists accessible to some people. I've recommended this book to some art teachers for this reason.
The book in in conjunction with the exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago of the same title. The exhibition should not be missed if you are in the Chicago area, but if you cannot make it to the exhibition (which closes May 12, 2002), this book is a great representation of the exhibits masterpieces. Inside are hundreds of fine-art images from ID, along with interviews, quotes, in-depth commentaries, and a lot of really great candids of the artists. It is really worth it. And I would certainly suggest buying this book at Amazon...
If you have any interest in modern art or photography, this book is a fantastic history lesson on the impact of these innovators on the entire possibilities of the medium. The Institute of Design helped shape photography into an art form of its own, and to push the boundaries of the medium at the same time. What a great time it must have been!