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The Masters Series: Michael Bierut

October 6 - November 7, 2015
A man holding an award.


Tue, Oct 6; 6:00 - 8:00pm

School of Visual Arts will honor designer, critic and educator Michael Bierut with the 27th annual Masters Series Award and Exhibition. “The Masters Series: Michael Bierut” will be the first comprehensive retrospective of the designer’s work, and will feature groundbreaking logos, graphics and exhibition designs as well as personal works from his own collection. The exhibition will be on view from October 6 through November 7 at the SVA Chelsea Gallery, 601 West 26th Street, 15th floor, New York City.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a reception and a launch party for Bierut’s latest book, How to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world (Thames & Hudson and Harper Design, 2015), will take place at the SVA Chelsea Gallery on Tuesday, October 6, 6:00 – 8:00pm. Bierut will also give a talk on his work on Wednesday, October 14, 7:00pm, at the SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street. Admission to all events is free and open to the public.

“The Masters Series: Michael Bierut” and its related events are held in celebration of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s National Design Week, taking place October 10 – 18.

Michael Bierut is widely admired in the creative world and beyond for his intelligent contributions to the design field, his expertise as a cultural critic and his tireless role as a mentor and educator. He has been a partner in the acclaimed design firm Pentagram since 1990. Prior to joining Pentagram, he worked for 10 years at Vignelli Associates, ultimately as vice president of graphic design. His clients at Pentagram have included The New York Times, Saks Fifth Avenue, the New York City Department of Transportation, MIT Media Lab, Yale School of Architecture, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Penguin Random House, the New York Jets, the Robin Hood Foundation and Nuts.com.

Bierut has won hundreds of design awards and his work is represented in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He served as president of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) from 1988 to 1990 and is president emeritus of AIGA National. He was elected to the Alliance Graphique Internationale in 1989 and to the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 2003, and was awarded the profession's highest honor, the AIGA Medal, in 2006. In 2008 he received a Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, in the Design Mind category.

A frequent guest lecturer at SVA, Bierut is also a senior critic in graphic design at the Yale University School of Art. He is co-editor of the anthology series Looking Closer: Critical Writings on Graphic Design (Allworth Press, 1994) and author of Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design (Princeton University Press, 2007). In 1998 he co-edited and designed the monograph Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist (Princeton Architectural Press, 2007). He is a co-founder of the online publication Design Observer and a contributor to such publications as The Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal.

In 1988, SVA founder Silas H. Rhodes instituted the College’s Masters Series, an award and exhibition honoring great visual communicators of our time. Although the achievements of many groundbreaking designers, illustrators, art directors and photographers are known to and lauded by their colleagues, their names often go unrecognized by the general public. The Masters Series brings greater exposure to those whose influence has been felt strongly and by many, yet without widespread recognition.

Masters Series laureates are Marshall Arisman, Saul Bass, R. O. Blechman, Ivan Chermayeff, Seymour Chwast, Paul Davis, Lou Dorfsman, Heinz Edelmann, Jules Feiffer, Shigeo Fukuda, Tom Geismar, Milton Glaser, April Greiman, Steven Heller, George Lois, Mary Ellen Mark, Ed McCabe, James McMullan, Duane Michals, Tony Palladino, Paula Scher, Edward Sorel, Deborah Sussman, George Tscherny, Paul Rand and Massimo Vignelli.

Free and open to the public