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Taken by Design

Photographs from the Institute of Design, 1937-1971

One of Chicago’s great cultural achievements, the Institute of Design was among the most important schools of photography in twentieth-century America. It began as an outpost of experimental Bauhaus education and was home to an astonishing group of influential teachers and students, including Lázló Moholy-Nagy, Harry Callahan, and Aaron Siskind. To date, however, the ID’s enormous contributions to the art and practice of photography have gone largely unexplored. Taken by Design is the first publication to examine thoroughly this remarkable institution and its lasting impact.

With nearly 300 illustrations, including many never-before published photographs, Taken by Design examines the changing nature of photography over this critical period in America’s midcentury. It starts by documenting the experimental nature of Moholy’s Bauhaus approach and photography’s new and enhanced role in training the "complete designer." Next it traces the formal and abstract camera experiments under Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind, which aimed at achieving a new kind of photographic subjectivity. Finally, it highlights the ID’s focus on conscious references to the processes of the photographic medium itself. In addition to photographs by Moholy, Callahan, and Siskind, the book showcases works by Barbara Crane, Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Joseph Jachna, Kenneth Josephson, Gyorgy Kepes, Nathan Lerner, Ray K. Metzker, Richard Nickel, Arthur Siegel, Art Sinsabaugh, and many others. Major essays from experts in the field, biographies, a chronology, and reprints of critical essays are also included, making Taken by Design an essential work for anyone interested in the history of American photography.

Contributors include:
Keith Davis, Lloyd Engelbrecht, John Grimes, Nathan Lyons, Hattula Moholy-Nagy, Elizabeth Siegel, David Travis, Larry Viskochil, James N. Wood

272 pages | 20 color plates, 250 halftones | 8-1/2 x 12 | © 2002

Art: American Art, Photography



“This is the catalog for the year’s landmark exhibition that proved beyond a doubt that the greatest artistic achievements in Chicago during the mid-20th Century were not paintings and sculptures but photographs. . . . The six essayists engaged here have produced a study not likely to be surpassed soon. It is measured, thorough and beautifully illustrated with often surprising images. What’s more, its contemporary design is as brilliant as the work it serves, enhancing a volume that should be in the library of every history-minded Chicagoan.”

Alan G. Artner | Chicago Tribune

“Tells the story of the Institute of Design’s rise to prominence and illustrates the work of many of its best students, including Barbara Crane, Linda Connor, Eileen Cowin, Ken Josephson, William Larson and Ray Metzker."

Andy Grundberg | The New York Times Book Review

Table of Contents

Foreword James N. Wood

1László Moholy-Nagy: An Appreciation
Hattula Moholy-Nagy

2Educating the Eye: Photography and the
Founding Generation at the Institute of
Design, 1937-46 Lloyd C. Englebrecht

Plates, 1937-46

3"To Open an Individual Way": Photography
at the Institute of Design, 1946-61
Keith R. Davis

Plates, 1946-61

4Photography on Its Own: The ID in
the 1960s John Grimes

Plates, 1961-71

5Big City, Small World: The Photography
Scene in Chicago, 1937-71
Larry Viskochil

6Vision in Motion: Film and Photography
at the Institute of Design
Elizabeth Siegel

7Epilogue: After 1971 John Grimes








Photography Credits


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