Lee Krasner: Living Colour

Exhibition

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Text

Lee Krasner: Living Colour is the first retrospective of Krasner’s work to be held in Europe for over fifty years. It explores the breadth of the artist’s pioneering, inventive practice, exhibiting almost 100 works from across Krasner’s career, including several that have never before been exhibited in the UK. The exhibition seeks to examine Krasner’s work in its own right, and celebrate her importance as an artist whose contribution to twentieth century art transcends the significance of her marriage to Jackson Pollock.

We collaborated with David Chipperfield Architects on the design of the exhibition, developing a graphic scheme characterised by clear, fine and formally robust typography. We chose Bill Corporate Hairline1 for headings, which was applied as pin-mounted metal lettering for the title of the exhibition; section titles and interpretation texts were screen-printed directly onto the gallery walls. To complement the natural light that David Chipperfield Architects’ design introduced into the space, we chose tactile textured paper captions, contributing a sense of softness and contrast with the large scale of the works on display.


  1. Digitised by Oliver Jeschke of OGJ Type Design in 2015, Bill Corporate Hairline was informed by the work of polymathic Swiss designer Max Bill, one of the most profoundly influential Swiss designers of the mid twentieth century. 

Publication

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We were also commissioned to design the accompanying catalogue, co-published by Barbican and Thames & Hudson. The typographic system we developed for the exhibition continues within the catalogue design, making use of Bill Corporate Hairline and Fakt, an unorthodox sans-serif which features both grotesk and geometric letterforms as alternates. The essays within are interspersed with images set on an irregular grid, and with a generous use of white space, introducing a sense of liveliness that had been absent from previous publications about Krasner and her work. We also incorporated a number of portraits of Krasner at different points in her career, offering visual representation of an artist who has often, historically, been anonymised.

Campaign

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We were also commissioned to design the marketing campaign for the exhibition, working with the Barbican’s house typeface, Futura. The campaign centres on a candid portrait of Krasner early in her career, which captures a sense of her spirit and independence. Juxtaposed with an image of one of her best-known works, the campaign intends to emphasise Krasner’s contemporary significance as an artist to be recognised and celebrated on her own merit.