The Original “Mad Man” Paul Rand At The Museum of The City of New York
The accomplishments of legendary art director and ad man Paul Rand are legion. In addition to creating some of the most recognizable (and longest-lasting) corporate logos of the 20th century–from IBM to ABC to Enron to UPS to Westinghouse–Rand has been inducted into the New York Art Directors Hall of Fame, and the Museum of Modern Art named him one the Top Ten Best Art Directors of all time. In honor of the Brooklyn-born-and-raised Rand's legacy–his works and words continue to educate and inspire–plus, in all likelihood, to capitalize a bit on all the hype surrounding the final season of Mad Man, the Museum of the City of New York recently opened a terrific retrospective of Rand's six-decade career.
Everything Is Design. Everything!
Called Everything Is Design (abbreviated from one of Rand's most famous quotes, "Everything is design. Everything!"), the exhibition takes up that large gallery on the Museum's first floor, and features a glorious selection of vintage printed materials from the 1930s through to the early 1990s, organized in chronological order and, in some cases, functioning as much as historical artifacts as masterworks of design. If you grew up during any of these eras, the aesthetics here are instantly evocative. Curator Donald Albrecht has also enlarged a number of Rand's most iconic materials, ringing the room with these poster-sized reproductions, adding a lively feel to the space. And, the real kicker to the exhibition as far as I was concerned, the Museum has also pulled some of Rand's fantastic quotes–no surprise, he was great communicator, and wrote several bestsellers on advertising and design–and sprinkled them throughout the gallery. All in all, a handsome, intelligent, energetic exhibition, as befits its subject.
Paul Rand: Everything Is Design At The Museum of the City of New York
Pretty much everything on display here is rewarding in some way–and there are some 150 different items–whether as history or simply as an design object, but some of my favorites examples of Rand's work would include his book jackets from the 1940s, which often borrow from that Euro-avant-garde "Polish Poster" style I like so much (like most great art directors of the age, Rand was an accomplished illustrator); his goofy liquor (Coronet Brandy) and tobacco (El Producto cigars) ads; and, of course, his corporate work, particularly for IBM, which functions as a kind of master class in branding and logo design. Sometimes design exhibitions such as this can feel a little slight; not so with the meaty and delightful Paul Rand: Everything Is Design.
For More Information on Paul Rand's Everything Is Design
Paul Rand: Everything Is Design will be at the Museum of the City of New York through July 19. The Museum of the City of New York is located on Fifth Avenue between 103rd and 104th Streets, and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information, please see here.