Phantoms in the Dirt poster

July 2014

Poster: Phantoms in the Dirt, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago

Phantoms in the Dirt, an exhibition at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) guest-curated by Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago curator Karsten Lund, surveys a range of artists who reckon with the facts of matter, the nature of photographic imagery, and the forces (sometimes invisible) that leave their mark on our surroundings. Their work is often both matter-of-fact and mysterious, an empirical approach that gives way to atmospheric or inscrutable results. Appropriately, James Goggin’s poster design (and upcoming exhibition catalogue, to be published in early September 2014) employs a newly digitised cut of British designer Edward Wright’s Flaxman typeface which, although originally designed for the International Concrete Poetry Festival in 1967, is rather more famously known for its rotating role on the New Scotland Yard sign outside London’s Metropolitan Police headquarters (said to be the second most photographed location in London after Buckingham Palace, funnily enough).

Pictured: Folded poster/mailer for Phantoms in the Dirt featuring Shannon Ebner’s Untitled Blank No. 3, 2008, courtesy of the artist and Wallspace, New York

A Loop in the Lake

June 2014

Poster: A Loop in the Lake, AIGA Chicago

In honour of AIGA’s centennial this year, AIGA Chicago asked 100 Chicago designers to each make a visual response to the question “What does design in Chicago mean to you?”. The resulting 100 posters were displayed at the This is Chicago event on June 12th. James Goggin’s answer is pictured above and described below:

“As I pondered AIGA Chicago’s request for a poster that answered the question ‘What does design in Chicago mean to you?’, two great printed works sprung to mind: one modernist, one post-modernist. In my response, John Massey’s famous 1965 Chicago Has a Great Lake poster for the Container Corporation becomes a field where Stanley Tigerman’s infamous 1978 Titanic protest against modernist orthodoxy—a photomontage proposal to sink Mies van der Rohe’s great building in Lake Michigan—is itself thrown back into the “great lake”, continuing the action/reaction loop upon which Chicago is built. The name of my resulting collage is a verbal riff on another favourite Chicago work of mine, John Cage’s A Dip in the Lake. Hence the repentant subtitle regarding all concerned: “Apologies to John, John, Stanley, and Mies”.

Pictured: James Goggin, A Loop in the Lake (Apologies to John, John, Stanley, and Mies), 2014, Collage, 24 × 36 in, AIGA Chicago

Grow Up Chicago!

May 2014

Poster: Grow Up Chicago!, City of Chicago

Shan James and James Goggin have collaborated on a poster for the City of Chicago promoting the city’s Sustainable Chicago 2015 initiative, responding to a call for designs to bring the city’s motto, “Urbs in Horto” (Latin for “City in a Garden”), to life. The poster is one of several designs now installed around Chicago on official city poster sites and bus shelters. In their poster, SJ’s flower illustrations are combined with a paper-cut skyline by JG, punctuated by the admittedly provocative, yet ultimately affirmative call: “Grow Up Chicago!”.

A decription, and rationale for the slightly contentious headline, accompanied the poster design: “Our city’s long-held motto ‘Urbs in Horto’ is a typically bold and contrary Chicago manifesto. Forget the nice yet tame idea of a garden in a city: we’re talking about a City in a Garden! As we all know, growth is a recurring theme in Chicago’s history. The radical modernist rise from the ashes of the great fire paralleled city and citizen campaigns for the creation and protection of green spaces. From Burnham, Olmsted, and Jensen on, building boom stimulated landscape bloom. With the Sustainable Chicago 2015 initiative, we imagine Chicago as a sustainable city of the future with a collective natural skyline rising from the plains in symbiosis with the architectural. Our rallying cry mirrors that of the ambitious post-1871 urban planners: Grow Up Chicago!”.

Pictured: Shan James and James Goggin’s Grow Up Chicago! poster on the corner of California and Diversey in the city’s Logan Square neighbourhood

Front Room

April 2014

Publication: Front Room: Artists’ Projects at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 2008–2013, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

The newly-released publication Front Room surveys the first five years of a renowned project space at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM), with photographs and entries on every project during that time, over 80 in total. Presenting exhibitions and performances in a dedicated gallery as well as in various public spaces throughout the Museum, the Front Room operates on an accelerated schedule, with each installment lasting anywhere from several days to a month. This ambitious series is designed for nimble and experimental programming, pushing the boundaries of what the museum exhibition can be. Since its inception in 2008, the Front Room has featured a prescient and bold selection of established and emerging artists from all over the world, many in their first solo exhibition in an American museum.

The publication is designed by James Goggin and Shan James at Practise, together with Scott Reinhard, and features essays by Anthony Huberman (CAM Chief Curator 2007–10, now Director of CCA Wattis) and CAM Assistant Curator Kelly Shindler. Front Room is published by CAM St. Louis with distribution by Artbook | DAP.

Pictured: Front Room front and back covers

Let's Do Something Impossible: Chicago Design Museum

March 2014

Poster: “Let’s Do Something Impossible”, Chicago Design Museum

Following a number of significant but temporary pop-up iterations, initially in Phoenix, then the past two summers in Chicago (first Humboldt Park, then in the Loop), the Chicago Design Museum is making a permanent move: a gallery and archive open to the public year-round in downtown Chicago. To enable the first exhibition to take place this summer, a Kickstarter campaign has been launched by the museum’s Executive Director, Tanner Woodford. In support of the initiative, James Goggin has contributed a poster design, along with five other international designers (Chuck Anderson, Marian Bantjes, Mike McQuade, Debbie Millman, and Michael C. Place), with the museum campaign’s theme of “Let’s Do Something Impossible” as a limited edition print reward for any backers of $50 or more. Visit the Kickstarter campaign page to support this bold initiative and make it possible.

Pictured: “Let’s Do Something Impossible” poster by James Goggin for the Chicago Design Museum summer 2014 campaign

IIT Architecture Chicago Spring 2014 poster

February 2014

Poster: IIT Architecture Chicago Spring 2014, Illinois Institute of Technology, College of Architecture

James Goggin designed a spring program and lecture series poster for the College of Architecture at Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology. The 24 × 32 inch (610 × 812 mm) poster folds as a self-mailer and is printed four colour offset with coarsely-screened fluorescent blue, pink, and yellow replacing traditional process cyan, magenta, yellow.

Pictured: Unfolded IIT Architecture Spring 2014 poster printed by Classic Color

Moiré Workshop

January 2014

Exhibition: All Possible Futures, SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, January 14–February 13, 2014

Curated by designer Jon Sueda, All Possible Futures explores speculative work by contemporary graphic designers, from commissioned projects to failed proposals, from sketches to workshops. James Goggin’s experimental print-on-demand project with Hochschule Darmstadt, Dear Lulu (plus further iterations Dear Blurb and Dear MagCloud), and children’s educational project “Moiré Workshop” are featured, alongside work by Åbäke, Dexter Sinister, Experimental Jetset, Na Kim, Jürg Lehni, Karel Martens, Metahaven, Karl Nawrot, and Sulki and Min, among others.

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition, published by Bedford Press with essays by Rachel Berger, Max Bruinsma, Emmet Byrne & Metahaven, Catherine de Smet, and Emily McVarish.

Pictured: Moiré Workshop installation at SOMArts, San Francisco (Photo: Jon Sueda)

Ayn Rand, Rand Paul, Paul Rand, Rand Corporation

January 2014

Tote Bag: Rands, Dominica and New Documents, LA Art Book Fair

To coincide with this evening’s LA Art Book Fair launch of Belvedere, a new book of photographs surveying the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (an American non-profit free market think tank in Midland, Michigan) by Chicago artist David Hartt and designed by James Goggin, a collaboration between JG and the artist has also been made in a limited edition. The Rands bag, produced by the publishers Dominica and New Documents, provides a helpful primer of 20th century libertarian capitalism on the appropriate, charged medium of a tote bag: “Ayn Rand, Rand Paul, Paul Rand, Rand Corporation” typeset in Beton Bold on IBM “Big Blue” cotton.

Order online from Dominica and/or New Documents.

Pictured: Rands tote by James Goggin and David Hartt

Lari Pittman: A Decorated Chronology

December 2013

Publication: Lari Pittman: A Decorated Chronology, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

A Decorated Chronology is a new publication documenting the first American museum exhibition of Los Angeles–based artist Lari Pittman in more than 15 years, shown at CAM St. Louis between May and August 2013. Comprising thirty large-scale paintings and a twenty-four-part works on paper series, the publication parallels the exhibition, featuring newer work from the mid-2000s to the present. In addition, a number of seminal earlier works, essential for understanding the trajectory of Pittman’s practice, also figure prominently. Over the past three decades, Pittman has developed a body of work that is internationally celebrated for its exuberant use of colour and painstakingly rendered detail to address such contentious subjects as sexuality, desire, and violence. His multilayered depictions of images and signs—ranging from human figures and body parts to animals, plants, furniture, text, and even credit cards—meditate on the overwhelming richness and sadness of everyday life.

The catalogue was designed by James Goggin and includes a critical essay by CAM Associate Curator Kelly Shindler along with a lively conversation between ICA Boston Chief Curator Helen Molesworth and the artist. A Decorated Chronology is published by CAM St. Louis with distribution by Artbook | DAP.

Pictured: Front and back covers of A Decorated Chronology

Third Ward TX

December 2013

Poster: Third Ward TX, Black Cinema House, Chicago

The film series Image, Building, Object: Exploring Architecture & Design on Film, curated by Michael Graham (Director, Balloon Contemporary), Tim Parsons (Associate Professor, Designed Objects, School of the Art Institute of Chicago), and independent designer Casey Lurie in partnership with Black Cinema House, presents the final screening of the season, independent filmmaker Andrew Garrison’s Third Ward TX.

Garrison’s documentary tells the story of how Project Row Houses, a successful public art program founded by local artists in inner-city Houston’s historically African-American neighborhood, Third Ward, used the tools of design, art and architecture to transform two blocks of “shotgun” houses reminiscent of New Orleans and other Black communities across the South into exhibition space, classrooms, gardens, and residential space. But their success in reducing crime, and making their “campus” a magnet for art enthusiasts, families, and local residents, also attracted deep-pocket real estate developers.

Pictured: Riso stencil-printed tabloid 11×17 inch Third Ward TX poster by James Goggin, printed by Working Knowledge

The Way of the Shovel

November 2013

Publication: The Way of the Shovel: On the Archaeological Imaginary in Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and University of Chicago Press

In 2009 the Belgian curator Dieter Roelstraete (then based at MuHKA in Antwerp, now Senior Curator at MCA Chicago) wrote what has since become an influential essay for e-flux journal, titled “The Way of the Shovel”. Roelstraete opened by quoting Walter Benjamin: “He who seeks to approach his own buried past must conduct himself like a man digging.” The historiographic turn outlined in Shovel was expanded upon in a further e-flux article, “After the Historiographic Turn: Current Findings” and has now continued to evolve into a fully-formed exhibition, The Way of the Shovel: Art as Archaeology, opening today at MCA Chicago. With the exhibition, Roelstraete reimagines the art world as an alternative “History Channel”, tracing the interest in history, archaeology, and archival research that defines some of the most highly regarded art of the last decade. Consisting almost entirely of work produced after the year 2000, the activities and preoccupations of such artists as Phil Collins, Moyra Davey, Tacita Dean, Stan Douglas, Joachim Koester, Deimantas Narkevičius, Anri Sala, Hito Steyerl, and Ana Torfs are explored and displayed.

An accompanying catalogue, given the original full title The Way of the Shovel: On the Archaeological Imaginary in Art, has been copublished by MCA Chicago and University of Chicago Press and designed by James Goggin and Scott Reinhard. In addition to an opening essay by Roelstraete mapping the contemporary field’s critical terrain, the publication features writing by Ian Alden Russell exploring the roots of archaeology and its manifestations in twentieth-century art, Bill Brown examining artistic practices that involve historical artifacts and archival material, Sophie Berrebi critiquing the “document” as seen in art after the 1960s, and Diedrich Diederichsen on the monumentalization of history in European art, along with statements from artists Moyra Davey, Rebecca Keller, Joachim Koester, Hito Steyerl, and Zin Taylor.

Among the ten typefaces deftly and deliberately cast in various roles throughout the book, from Edward Johnston’s 1916 London Underground classic through Oswald Cooper’s “Old Style” to German cartographic oddity Römisch, JG worked on the first digitisation of the hot metal bindery type used by the Conservation department of Chicago’s Newberry Library, “Newberry Detterer” (see page two of this “One Hundred Years of Conservation Documentation at the Newberry Library” PDF for more details). Discovered by JG, SR, and DR during a Newberry field trip to kick off the book, the library’s Rare Books Curator and John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing Custodian Paul Gehl described the type’s history, designed in 1934 for consistent stamping of the Newberry’s bound volume titles and call numbers by Chicago calligrapher, typographer, and (as a predecessor to Gehl) Newberry History of Printing Foundation Custodian, Ernst F. Detterer. As a side note, Detterer took lettering classes taught by the aforementioned Edward Johnston at the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art during his education in the late 1910s.

Appropriately enough for an exhibition and publication concerning artists raiding the archives, original drawings by Detterer were unearthed from the Newberry’s collection, augmented by a new specimen of the typeface’s caps-only glyphs, numbers, and punctuation beautifully pressed for us by Newberry Conservation Technician Virginia Meredith. The newly digitised font will be gifted back to the Newberry, in recognition of and gratitude to Gehl, the Conservation staff, and the institution’s ongoing inspiration and support.

Pictured: Spine (with drawing of Mark Dion’s shovel by the artist himself, foil stamped into heavy duty library-standard acrylic-coated buckram) and cover of The Way of the Shovel, featuring Newberry Detterer type blocked across Jean-Luc Moulène’s Orant from Le Monde, Le Louvre, 2005

Archizines Live

October 2013

Panel: Archizines Live, Public Works Gallery, Chicago, 18:00, Saturday 19 October 2013

Public Works Gallery is hosting the Chicago edition of Archizines, an international touring exhibition curated by Elias Redstone and initiated in collaboration with the Architectural Association, featuring 80 architecture magazines, fanzines, and journals from over twenty countries that provide an alternative to the established architectural press. A series of events took place to accompany, and expand on, the exhibition’s theme of publishing as platform for commentary, criticism, and research into the practice of architecture. Following a September discussion moderated by Kyle May (CLOG, New York) featuring Iker Gil (MAS Context, Chicago), Sofia Leiby (Chicago Artist Writers), and Brandon Biederman (Fresh Meat, Chicago), October’s panel was moderated by James Goggin and featured Ludovico Centis (San Rocco, Milan), Dylan Fracareta (PIN-UP, New York), and Matthew Harlan (SOILED). A live sound installation by THE DRUM followed the discussion.

Pictured: Panel and crowd at Archizines Live, Public Works, Chicago (Photo: Public Works)

Remembering Maarten Van Severen

October 2013

Poster: Remembering Maarten Van Severen, Black Cinema House, Chicago

The film series Image, Building, Object: Exploring Architecture & Design on Film, curated by Michael Graham (Director, Balloon Contemporary), Tim Parsons (Associate Professor, Designed Objects, School of the Art Institute of Chicago), and independent designer Casey Lurie in partnership with Black Cinema House, presents an afternoon of film screenings and excerpts on the late, great Belgian furniture designer Maarten Van Severen.

His life cut short by cancer at the age of 48, Van Severen left behind an extraordinary collection of furniture and several important architectural projects. The designer devoted himself to the rigorous exploration of basic furniture typologies and in the process developed a formal language of uncompromising simplicity and beauty. Screenings include Terenja Van Dijk’s 2005 short film Works, Maarten van Severen and a Pain Perdu-produced film, The .03 Chair, on the gestation of Van Severen’s most famous chair over a decade from the designer’s workshop to mass-production by Vitra.

Pictured: Riso stencil-printed tabloid 11×17 inch Remembering Maarten Van Severen poster by James Goggin, printed by Working Knowledge

Momus Bambi

October 2013

Album: Momus, Bambi (American Patchwork)

The latest album by the peripatetic (currently Osaka-based) Scottish musician, writer, and artist Momus, titled Bambi, has just been released on the artist’s American Patchwork imprint and distributed by Darla, with a cover designed by James Goggin and an illustration by the Barcelona-based illustrator Miju Lee.

The cover artwork features a new typeface designed by JG, titled “São Paulo Shimbun”, based on the masthead typography of a São Paulo Nikkei-Brazilian community newspaper of the same name. Momus discovered a copy of the paper at the Center for Overseas Migration and Cultural Interaction in Kobe, and, like JG, admired the odd rough handmade geometry of the masthead, remarking in a 2011 blog post: “I want someone to make a typeface based on that masthead so I can use it for a future album cover.” So JG did.

A new full upper- and lowercase plus numerical character set was designed (as described in a recent post on Momus’s blog), extrapolating glyphs from the few characters present in the words “São Paulo Shimbun”. Album tracklisting, catalogue number, and barcode were relegated to the Digipak’s interior and spine, allowing for the back cover to boldly state “Momus Bambi” without any of the credits, copyright, and distribution info that usually mess up album back covers. The front simply features Miju Lee’s illustration unadorned by any title typography, the character silenced (or indeed its gaze rendered more forceful) by a deliberate crop of the mouth.

Pictured: Momus Bambi Digipak front and back covers, and interior credits, tray, and CD artwork

Citizen Architect

September 2013

Poster: Citizen Architect, Black Cinema House, Chicago

As part of the ongoing film series Image, Building, Object: Exploring Architecture & Design on Film, curated by Michael Graham (Director, Balloon Contemporary), Tim Parsons (Associate Professor, Designed Objects, School of the Art Institute of Chicago), and independent designer Casey Lurie in partnership with Black Cinema House, there will be a screening of Sam Wainwright Douglas’s 2010 documentary film Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of Rural Studio on Saturday, September 28 at 6pm, followed by a discussion with Rural Studio alumnus Daniel Splaingard.

Hale County, Alabama is home to some of the most impoverished communities in the United States of America. It is also home to Auburn University’s Rural Studio, one of the most prolific and inspirational design-build outreach programs ever established. Citizen Architect is a documentary film chronicling the late Samuel Mockbee, artist, architect, educator and founder of the Rural Studio. Mockbee’s words and the students’ experiences are supplemented with perspectives from other architects and designers who share praise and criticism of the Rural Studio, including Peter Eisenman, Michael Rotondi, Cameron Sinclair, Steve Badanes, and Hank Louis. Their dialogue infuses the film with a larger discussion of architecture’s role in issues of poverty, class, race, education, social change and citizenship.

Pictured: Riso stencil-printed tabloid 11×17 inch Citizen Architect poster by James Goggin, printed by Working Knowledge