New Work: National Academy

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Established in 1825, the National Academy Museum and School has a mission to “promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition.” Founded by a group of artists that included Thomas Cole, Asher Durand and Samuel F.B. Morse, it is the only institution of its kind to integrate a museum, art school and honorary association. It is modeled after the Royal Academy in London and is guided by a membership of esteemed artists and architects elected by peers. Members have included Jacob Lawrence, Frederic Edwin Church, Chuck Close, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Louise Bourgeois, Philip Johnson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Cesar Pelli, Frank Gehry, Robert A.M. Stern and Maya Lin, among many others.

The National Academy is housed in a 1901 Beaux Arts mansion on Fifth Avenue at 89th Street, sited between the Guggenheim and the Cooper-Hewitt on New York’s Museum Mile. This fall the Academy completed an ambitious $3.5 million renovation designed to raise its profile and create a better visitor experience. Timed to the renovation, Pentagram’s Abbott Miller has refreshed the Academy’s identity and developed a new program of environmental graphics for the institution, including a striking typographic installation of members’ names on the ceiling of the museum’s foyer.

Awards: AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers

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The AIGA’s annual “50 Books/50 Covers” competition showcases the best-designed books of the year, Kindles be damned. Pentagram is pleased to announce three of our books made the cut in the “50 Books” half of this year’s competition: Water Matters: A Design Manual for Water Conservation in Buildings, designed by Eddie Opara and team for the New York City Department of Design and Construction; Team Michael Bierut’s Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes; and Mah Jongg: Krak Bam Dot!, designed by Abbott Miller to accompany the exhibition “Project Mah Jongg at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York.

The winning selections can be seen online in the AIGA Design Archives, and at an exhibition that opens today at the AIGA National Design Center in New York. (Check out the accompanying survey, What the Book.) The winning books will join the AIGA archives at the Denver Art Museum and Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Collection at the Butler Library.

Congratulations to our designers, teams and clients for all the great work!

Awards: Print’s Regional Design Annual 2011

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Pentagram is honored to have several of our projects featured in Print’s 31st Regional Design Annual, on newsstands now. Work from our New York and Austin offices has been recognized in the awards, which is the only comprehensive U.S. design competition organized by geography.

Eight projects from our New York office placed in the annual’s New York City section: Team Michael Bierut’s mark for the Fashion Law Institute; Michael Gericke and Luke Hayman’s graphics program for the US bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022 ; Luke Hayman’s “HELLO” invite for an event welcoming Eddie Opara to Pentagram; Abbott Miller’s design for Mah Jongg: Krak Bam Dot, the book accompanying the “Project Mah Jongg” exhibition; Paula Scher’s Shakespeare in the Park 2010 campaign, map murals for Queens Metropolitan Campus, and environmental graphics for parking garage at 13-17 East 54th Street; and the website for Ennead Architects, designed by Lisa Strausfeld while she was at Pentagram. We are also happy to note current Pentagram New York intern Aron Fay is honored for his design of the catalog for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 2010 Next Wave Festival.

In the Southwest section, DJ Stout and his team at Pentagram Austin are represented by three projects: the “Building Hope” movie poster and book designs for The Gernsheim Collection and Uchi: The Cookbook.

Thanks to all our designers, teams and clients for the great work!

Pentagram Projects Featured in ‘Graphic Design: Now in Production’

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Pentagram is thrilled to have several of our works featured in the major exhibition Graphic Design: Now in Production, currently on view at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Organized by Andrew Blauvelt of the Walker and Ellen Lupton of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (where the show travels next summer), Graphic Design: Now in Production looks at the growing reach of graphic design over the past decade—“expanding from a specialized profession to a widely deployed tool,” in the words of the curators—and the changing role of the designer to producer, author and entrepreneur. The show is the first major U.S. exhibition to focus on graphic design in 15 years, following Mixing Messages: Graphic Design in Contemporary Culture at the Cooper-Hewitt in 1996 and the Walker’s landmark exhibition Graphic Design in America: A Visual Language History in 1989.

Preview: The Barnes Foundation

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Home to masterworks by Cezanne, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, and others, the Barnes Foundation is one of the most important collections of Post-Impressionist and early Modernist art in the world. Now, as the Barnes prepares for a high-profile move from Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, to a new location in downtown Philadelphia, the museum has announced a comprehensive new identity program designed by Pentagram’s Abbott Miller. The graphic identity has been introduced with the launch of a new website designed by Miller and his team for the Foundation, which had its Phase 1 launch last week. The museum opens to the public in May 2012.

Established by Dr. Albert C. Barnes, a visionary who amassed paintings, decorative art, and African sculpture (before it was widely collected by other institutions), the Barnes Foundation has been housed since 1922 in a custom gallery in Merion designed to Barnes’ specifications. The galleries of the original building were intimate settings that presented art and objects from various parts of the world in distinctive symmetrical “ensembles,” a hanging style that allowed viewers to make links and associations among the diverse works. These arrangements will be recreated in exact detail in the Barnes’ new building, designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, and have inspired Miller’s identity for the museum.

New Work: ‘Gloria’

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The United States is represented at this year’s Venice Biennale by Gloria, a striking installation by the artist team of Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. Pentagram’s Abbott Miller has designed the catalogue for the exhibition, one of the Biennale’s controversial highlights.

Based in Puerto Rico, Allora & Calzadilla’s work is known for its political edge and subversive humor. Installed in the U.S. Pavilion, Gloria is a broad commentary on U.S. nationalism, consumerism and global competitiveness on the international stage (including art biennials). Its works include Track and Field, a performance in which U.S. Olympian Dan O’Brien runs on a treadmill placed on an upside-down tank; Body in Flight (American) and Body in Flight (Delta), in which teams of gymnasts perform routines on the first- and business-class seats of the two airlines; and Armed Freedom Lying on a Sunbed, a replica of Armed Freedom, the neo-Classical statue from the dome of the U.S. Capitol, placed in a tanning bed.

‘Design for a Living World’ on View in Chicago

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This summer Design for a Living World, the landmark exhibition presented by the Nature Conservancy and designed by Pentagram’s Abbott Miller, has traveled to the Field Museum in Chicago, where it remains on view through November 13.

Design for a Living World was co-curated by Miller and Ellen Lupton, curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, where the show debuted in 2009. The exhibition commissioned 10 designers from the fields of fashion, product and industrial design to develop new uses for sustainably grown and harvested materials from a specific place where the Conservancy works. The participating designers include Yves Béhar, Stephen Burks, Hella Jongerius, Maya Lin, Christien Meindertsma, Isaac Mizrahi, Ted Muehling, Paulina Reyes from Kate Spade, Ezri Tarazi and Miller himself. Locations include endangered ecosystems in Australia, Micronesia, China, Mexico, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Alaska, Idaho and Maine. The resulting designs demonstrate that by choosing sustainable materials, designers can actively contribute to the advancement of a global conservation ethic.

In addition to co-curating and participating in the exhibition, Miller and his team at Pentagram designed the exhibition and its companion book and website. The exhibition is designed to travel and the modular scheme originally installed at Cooper-Hewitt’s Carnegie Mansion in New York has been adapted for the Field Museum. The installation includes a new piece by Meindertsma inspired by the Conservancy’s Nachusa Grasslands in northern Illinois.