“Every product, to be successful, must incorporate the ideas that will make it marketable, and the particular task of design is to bring about the conjunction between such ideas and the available means of production. The result of this process is that manufactured goods embody innumerable myths about the world, myths which in time come to seem as real as the products in which they are embedded.”—Adrian Forty, 1986
The years before 1914 found artists, designers, and manufacturers debating an expanded architectural practice which would fuse the fine and applied arts and come to embody the spirit of the people. The design and manufacture of goods, aided by the birth of the modern factory and establishment of the marke, or brand, was (unlike its degraded status in present times) seen as a site for the creation and exchange of shared values and symbols.
To this end, the Deutscher Werkbund, a German industrial association that prefigured the Bauhaus, coined typisierung, a term for the establishment of a finished product as a “standard.” This contentious idea circulated for years before becoming the subject of a public debate in Cologne in 1914. It is difficult to tell in 2010 which of this group, if any, would be pleased by the proliferation of mass produced, branded goods and resulting eclipse of “the product” by an ever expanding terrain of abstract associations and lifestyle depictions.
The Type takes place during Crystalline Architectures, an exhibition curated by Josiah McElheny that includes historical works by architects and designers affiliated with the Glass Chain and Arbeistrat für Kunst. The assembled group of historians, artists, and designers address the relevancy of typisierung on contemporary visual practice. Peter Harkawik moderates the panel, followed by a Q&A with the audience.
Featuring Barry Bergdoll, Laurene Boym, Brigid Doherty, Hal Foster, and Josephine Meckseper.
BARRY BERGDOLL is the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art and professor of modern architectural history at Columbia University. He is author or editor of numerous publications and has organized, curated and consulted on many landmark exhibitions of 19th and 20th-century architecture, including Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity at MoMA (2009-10).
LAURENE LEON BOYM is co-founder of Boym Partners, Inc., a multidisciplinary design studio that won the National Design Award in Product Design in 2009. Boym earned a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1984 and a MID from Pratt in 1993. She was a designer in residence at Cooper-Hewitt in 1993, where her work was the subject of thegroundbreaking exhibition, Mechanical Brides. In 1992, Boym was a founder of the Association of Women Industrial Designers (AWID). She has taught design studio at Parsons and in the MFA design program at the School of Visual Arts.
BRIGID DOHERTY is Associate Professor of German and Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, where she is also a member of the core faculty of the Program in Media + Modernity and the Program in European Cultural Studies. She is co-editor of "Walter Benjamin. The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility and Other Writings on Media", published by Harvard University Press. In 2008, Doherty created “The Museum of Learning Things” for the Trento section of Manifesta 7: The European Biennial of Contemporary Art, curated by Anselm Franke and Hila Peleg.
HAL FOSTER is Townsend Martin '17 Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton and co-editor of October. Two new books are forthcoming in 2011: "Painting and Subjectivity in the First Pop Age" and "The Art-Architecture Complex".
PETER HARKAWIK is an artist living in Los Angeles. His work has been shown in New York, LA, and Paris and is the subject of a two-person exhibition in July at Night Gallery, Los Angeles. He holds a BA in Critical Theory from Hampshire College.
JOSEPHINE MECKSEPER's work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at numerous international institutions including Kunstmuseum Stuttgart (2007), Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst Zürich (2009), and Blaffer Gallery/Art Museum of the University of Houston (2009). Additionally, her works have been featured in a number of international biennales and exhibitions including the Whitney Biennial (2006 and 2010), New Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008), and Contemplating the Void at the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010). A solo exhibition of her work is currently on view at Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York.