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John Massey: Cartón de Venezuela

Through March 5, 2017
Gallery 24

One of Chicago’s great design stories emerged from the Container Corporation of America (CCA) in the middle of the 20th century. The CCA’s founder, Walter Paepcke, was an influential patron of the arts and was integral in bringing the New Bauhaus, later folded into the Illinois Institute of Technology, to the city. At CCA he enlisted exceptionally talented graphic designers such as the Austrian Herbert Bayer and the Chicagoan John Massey, whose work for CCA is featured in this exhibition.

Massey began working at CCA in 1957, and upon his appointment as head of design in 1964 he formed a research arm, the Center for Advanced Research in Design (CARD). The work of CARD extended beyond the traditional work of CCA to projects such as the Chicago Civic Poster campaign. Supported fully by Paepcke, this unusual arrangement enabled great creativity and innovation within a corporate structure. The portfolio of Massey’s work recently acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago demonstrates the designer’s ingenuity across a range of projects.

This exhibition features a set of posters for the CCA’s subsidiary Cartón de Venezuela. Intended as a calendar for clients, each poster represents a different month of the year. The strong, clean lines and bold colors reflect one of Massey’s primary influences, the Swiss school of design. These posters represent an overall approach to design by Massey and illustrate the important body of work he developed while the director of CARD.