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Color Studies



A silkscreen of a green square with a blue, greed, and yellow triangle inside.

Armin Hofmann. Silkscreen Portfolio, edition 6 of 20, 1989–99. Gift of Philip C. Burton.

Color has occupied intriguing, if at times understated roles, in the history of architecture and design. This installation mines the collection of the Art Institute to showcase important moments from this evolving narrative, from the Bauhaus and Swiss typography to postmodern architecture and contemporary graphic design. 

The Purist paintings of Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier are displayed alongside his famous books on the colors used in his modern houses. Joseph Albers’s books and portfolios introduce the rigorous laboratory of color theory at the Bauhaus, while important projects in the postmodern era by Krueck and Sexton and Helmut Jahn push the use of color to its spatial and experiential limits. Finally color is explored in digital design and as a tool for social and political criticism by architects and designers in our era of global media.


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