Max Burchartz. Tanzfestspiele zum 2. Deutschen Tänzerkongress Essen 1928 (Dance Festival at the Second German Dance Congress, Essen) poster, 1928. Printed by Graphische Anstalt F. W. Rohden, Essen. Photolithograph. The Museum of Modern Art. Purchase Fund, Jan Tschichold Collection. © 2018 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Digital Image ˝ The Museum of Modern Art/ Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY.

This symposium, complementing the exhibition Jan Tschichold and the New Typography at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery (on view February 14–July 7), will examine the role of graphic design in the broader context of Weimar culture (1919-1933). This period witnessed considerable technological innovation in the printing industry, especially in applications of photography to the mass media, as well as a range of new practices within the design community of Central Europe. “Graphic design,” itself only began to emerge as a recognizable activity, if not a profession, at this time. Alongside the pace of change in the print and design sectors, this was also a period of intense debate regarding the role of advertising in modern society, set against a lively and fluid cultural scene shaped by literature, film, music, and drama, as well as politics and popular culture. The history of graphic design in this period is often related to contemporary painting, a link that Tschichold himself made in 1925. However, the broader history of design, technology, economics, and aesthetics played a similarly decisive role in the formation of modernist graphic design. It is intended that some of these themes will be explored in talks throughout the day.

Speakers will include Steve Heller, School of Visual Arts; Juliet Kinchin, The Museum of Modern Art; Dietrich Neumann, Brown University; Paul Stirton, Bard Graduate Center; and Robert Wiesenberger, The Clark Art Institute.