Album: The Republic, Sam Prekop, Thrill Jockey Records
The Republic, a project by Chicago-based artist David Hartt shown at New York’s David Nolan Gallery in spring 2014, explores Greek urban planner Constantinos Doxiadis’s proposals for the cities of Athens and Detroit. The exhibition comprised cast bronze sculpture, a machined aluminium frame, turned poplar seating, photographic prints and a 16 minute video work shot in both of the aforementioned cities. Hartt commissioned Chicago musician Sam Prekop to score the film and the resulting tracks make up the first half of a new record of modular synthesizer compositions by Prekop, also titled The Republic and released in CD and vinyl formats on Thrill Jockey Records. Practise’s sleeve design assembles both details from Hartt’s prints, and stills from the film, printed in UV gloss. A limited edition of 500 LPs have been pressed on blue opaque vinyl.
Pictured: Record sleeve featuring detail from David Hartt, The Republic, 2014, and limited edition blue 12-inch vinyl
Publication: MetaModern, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois
MetaModern is a new exhibition opening January 30th at the University of Illinois Krannert Art Museum in Champaign-Urbana, curated by Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judith Hoos Fox. The show gathers a diverse range of contemporary artists whose works interrogate and critique the authority of iconic mid-century modernist design and architecture icons: Conrad Bakker, Constantin Boym, Kendell Carter, Jordi Colomer, William Cordova, Elmgreen & Dragset, Fernanda Fragateiro, Terence Gower, Brian Jungen, Olga Koumoundouros, Jill Magid, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Dorit Margreiter, Josiah McElheny, Edgar Orlaineta, Gabriel Sierra, Simon Starling, Clarissa Tossin, Barbara Visser, and James Welling.
The accompanying catalogue, designed by Practise, elaborates on the themes established by the curators and artists with a publication constructed from materials, colour, illustrations, and typography relating to the works on show and the original mid-century sources upon which those works are based. Mirror chromolux one-sided board is imposed with opaque white-printed coloured paper dividers, gloss, and uncoated stocks, smyth-sewn with an exposed spine and all held together in a silkscreened clear welded plastic sleeve, into which original postcard works by Barbara Visser have been randomly inserted. The publication thereby attempts to reference, embrace, and ultimately draw attention to its own process-based constraints (inks, paper stocks, 8– and 16-page imposition and pagination) as a pseudo-meta exercise while maintaining its function as a catalogue that clearly and accessibly displays writing and artworks for the reader.
Pictured: detail of the MetaModern catalogue’s exposed smyth-sewn binding inside a silkscreened clear plastic sleeve
Poster: Peace on Earth, Practise
New year wishes for peace on earth, to everyone on earth.
Pictured: 18 × 24 inch Peace on Earth silkscreen print, produced in an edition of 100
Cover: Design Issues, Volume 30, Issue 4, Autumn 2014, MIT Press
Design Issues, published by MIT Press since 1984, is the first American academic journal to examine design history, theory, and criticism. As the journal’s extensive Pinterest gallery shows, every cover is designed by a different designer, each working within a two-colour printing constraint, but also with full conceptual freedom. James Goggin was commissioned for their Autumn 2014 issue, which featured essays on such contemporary concerns as ”Unknown Positions of Imagination in Design”, “Citizen Science and Open Design”, and “Modelling Business Models”.
Given an underlying theme of speculation apparent in the writing mentioned, JG formulated what might be described as a “Bubble Bauhaus”, an elaboration on the three familiar primary forms of the Bauhaus (triangle, circle, square) where “speculation”, in both theoretical and financial senses, is represented as balloon, thought cloud, and bubble. Poised on the back cover is the hand of the critic, as an ominous (or promising, depending on your point of view) presence, primed for, shall we say, incisive analysis and debate.
Pictured: “Bubble Bauhaus” front and back cover illustrations
Poster: Michael Schmelling: Your Blues, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago
During an eighteen month-long commission in his hometown of Chicago, Los Angeles-based photographer Michael Schmelling explored the musical landscape of the region, immersing himself headlong into Chicago’s music scene, focusing on the overlooked, frequenting house party shows and searching out niche and local acts that are not widely known. The resulting series of photographs at clubs and parties have been assembled in an expansive exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, titled Your Blues, that emphasises the fluid crossover between Chicago’s music genres.
As Art Director of London music magazine The Wire (2005–2008), James Goggin was a regular commissioner of Schmelling’s photography, and the collaboration was continued here with the photographer and Practise working together on the main MoCP exhibition poster and a 36-page publication with an 8,000 word essay by Chicago musician Tim Kinsella. An additional poster was designed for Yr Blues, a companion concert run in parallel with the exhibition at Chicago’s legendary Empty Bottle, featuring many of the musicians documented in Schmelling’s project, including Cairo Gang, Lucki Eck$, The Funs, and The Drum.
Pictured: Folded 18 × 24 inch poster for Michael Schmelling: Your Blues
Publication: Francis Upritchard’s Monkeys and Sloth, Whitechapel Gallery, London and Garden Press, Chicago
Every year London’s Whitechapel Gallery invites a contemporary artist to create a new work of art that engages children, and the so-called Children’s Commission has in recent years included Jake and Dinos Chapman, Alan Kane, and Simon and Tom Bloor. To accompany the 2014 commission of London-based New Zealand artist Francis Upritchard, Practise partners Shan James and James Goggin have launched their new children’s book publishing imprint, Garden Press, by editing and designing an artist’s book that gathers a number of Upritchard’s monkey sculptures (and one sloth).
The resulting co-publication with Whitechapel, printed and bound in a children’s board book format, is titled Francis Upritchard’s Monkeys and Sloth and available directly from Garden Press ($20, email to order — online shop opening soon), as well as the Whitechapel Gallery Shop.
Pictured: Francis Upritchard’s Monkeys and Sloth board book
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 interpretation of British designer Edward Wright’s Flaxman typeface, 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).
Pictured: Folded 18 × 24 inch poster/mailer for Phantoms in the Dirt featuring Shannon Ebner’s Untitled Blank No. 3, 2008, courtesy of the artist and Wallspace, New York
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
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
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
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
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