Seminar sessions are held on Thursdays from 3–5 pm at the Newberry, 60 West Walton Street, Chicago, Illinois.
Chicago has long been acknowledged for its contributions to architectural history but its seminal position in national and international conversations about design have long been under-explored. Building on its position as a national hub for railroad distribution, Chicago emerged in the twentieth century as a center of design with strong ties to the manufacturing, wholesale, retail, mail order, printing, and publishing industries that had long defined this midwestern city.
This seminar seeks to bring scholarly exposure to Chicago’s rich design legacy by focusing on the many ways that designers responded to the city’s shifting trends in manufacturing and corporate culture. The seminar will examine the important design personalities, institutions, and businesses that forged the city’s modern identity. The seminar focuses on the history of graphic, product, disability, and strategic design undertaken by artists and designers including Max Bill, Jay Doblin, Lilian Florsheim, and Georges Vantongerloo for institutions such as Container Corporation of America, IIT Institute of Design, and ICOGRADA.
The seminar is open to academics, graduate students, curators, artists, and the design community and will feature works-in-progress by scholars who address different aspects of Chicago design and commercial culture.
The Chicago: City of Commerce and Design, 1890-1990 Seminar originated as part of Art Design Chicago, an exploration of Chicago’s art and design legacy, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.
The Chicago: City of Commerce and Design, 1890-1990 Seminar is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art.