Bit Caves Uncategorized The Legacy of Bauhaus in Chicago’s Design World

The Legacy of Bauhaus in Chicago’s Design World

The Art of Design in Chicago

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The New Bauhaus

After the outbreak of the Nazis, displaced Bauhaus masters including Laszlo Moholy-Nagy found refuge in Chicago and established America’s most influential midcentury design school. The New Bauhaus—which later became the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology—was an extraordinary flowering of interdisciplinary design pedagogy.

The school’s founding manifesto emphasized “the totality of art as a complete work of art,” and its workshops were designed to allow students to learn skills such as carpentry, welding, and metalworking in tandem with fine arts instruction. The school community also encouraged close-knit relationships between masters and students outside of the classroom, which resulted in some legendary Bauhaus costume parties.

While this movement’s impact on Chicago design may not be immediately apparent, its philosophy is reflected in the city’s architecture and culture today. Whether you’re in a minimalist loft or surrounded by an abundance of modern furniture, the ideas behind the original Bauhaus are everywhere. This exhibition offers a glimpse into its lasting influence on the city of Chicago.

The Society of Typographic Arts

In 1927, Chicago’s leading design professionals formed the Society of Typographic Arts to promote excellence in typography and the printing trade. The Society was a precursor to the City and Guilds Institute, which established examinations for printmakers and designers, and was well ahead of its time in encouraging true discourse and professional education among designers.

One of its most notable early members was Dan Friedman, whose genre-bending works of assemblage, typographic experiments, and political activism challenged conventions of modernism in art and design. Friedman was a member of the Guild from its founding until his death in 1952.

Nick’s work has been exhibited worldwide and featured in global publications including The Economist, Smithsonian Magazine, CBC and NPR, Fast Company, and Core77. His branding projects for Truth Be Told, a tavern; robotics startup Kinetic; and the Chicago Graphic Design Club’s Confronting Design event series, as well as his self-initiated poster installation of You Create Tomorrow, have garnered him many awards over the years.

The Art Directors Club

Founded in 1920, the Art Directors Club promoted the newly minted profession of art direction. As the publishing boom of the early twentieth century led to an increasing need for specialized work, art directors developed a new vocation that involved interpreting commercial needs to artists and vice versa.

ADC’s annual awards show has become one of the most prestigious events in the world. It recognizes outstanding entrants across all design disciplines and is judged by respected juries. Winners receive coveted gold, silver and bronze Cubes.

With an acclaimed collection of world-class restaurants, luxury custom home building, and a burgeoning tech sector, Chicago deserves its reputation as “America’s Second City.” In fact, it’s more than just that—it’s a global design hub. Design Chicago showcases the most innovative products in showrooms at THE MART, and delivers cutting-edge trend coverage, curated product stories, and the latest design voices through its magazine. Support this important resource for the design community with a donation today.

The Terra Foundation for American Art

The Terra Foundation for American Art is a private philanthropy that supports exhibitions, fellowships, symposia, research, and publications related to American art. It is also a major contributor to the Artstor digital library, with more than 750 images of works by American artists like George Bellows, Mary Cassatt, John Singleton Copley, and Childe Hassam.

The foundation has a deep commitment to its home city of Chicago, with a focus on expanding narratives of American art. It has invested in a range of local projects, including the Art Design Chicago initiative. This series of events and exhibitions highlights the voices, cultures, and communities that define Chicago’s artistic heritage and creative landscape.

The 2024 iteration of this program will expand community outreach and focus on contemporary artists. It will include grants for a learning community that will allow partners to collaborate and cross-pollinate ideas and strategies. Additionally, it will support research and development for public programs connected to the initiative.

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