What is 21st-century graphic design? Graphic Design—Now in Production, an exhibition opening July 20 at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), offers the closest thing to an answer. This is the first survey of the field across many mediums—posters, publications, infographics, logos, typography, storefronts, and film and television titles created since 2000. Houston is one of only seven cities to receive the exhibition, which first showed at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
Graphic Design—Now in Production on view at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, image courtesy of The Walker Art Center
For decades, design has increasingly served as centerpiece, catalyst, key ingredient. Ellen Lupton, one of the exhibition’s organizers, zeroes in on another sea change: from designer as author to designer as producer. Add to that editor, publisher, printmaker, curator, merchant. This ever-evolving, growing role of the graphic designer reveals itself as central to the exhibition.
Graphic Design—Now in Production on view at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, image courtesy of their website.
This is your chance to see the new classics in one place. Think Mad Men’s freefalling executive. Pioneering publications like McSweeney’s and The Gentlewoman. The New York Times’ cleverly visualized data. Best Made Co.’s painted statement axes. Google Doodles. Aaron Draplin and Coudal Partner’s Field Notes journals. You’ll get to compare old and new logos for Starbucks and the Library of Congress—and even vote for the better one. You will see how software, e-books, rapid prototyping, and iPads have left their marks on the field. It’s a feast of ideas and images that thoroughly captures design in the new millennium, and it can all be taken in at Graphic Design—Now in Production.
Graphic Design—Now in Production installation on view at The Walker Art Center, image courtesy of their website.
Graphic Design—Now in Production will be on view at the CAMH from July 20 to September 29. The opening reception is Friday, July 19 from 7-9pm. The CAMH is open from Tuesday to Sunday, and admission is always free.
Roque Strew lives in Houston.