Press Release

Elaine Lustig Cohen – June 13 – September 28, 2015

The Glass House presents the first survey to explore the relationship between the early paintings and pioneering design projects of Elaine Lustig Cohen. Based in New York, Lustig Cohen has been highly regarded as a graphic designer, artist, and rare book dealer throughout her career, which spans over fifty years. On view in the Painting Gallery, the exhibition includes a selection of her paintings from the 1960s and 1970s as well as examples of her multiyear collaboration with architect Philip Johnson, among other projects.

In 1955, Lustig Cohen began a graphic design practice that integrated the aesthetics of European modernism within a distinctly American visual idiom for her diverse clientele of publishers, corporations, cultural institutions, and architects. Her first client was Johnson, who commissioned her to work on the lettering and signage for the Seagram Building. The two forged an important bond that resulted in a variety of projects for the Glass House, Yale University, Lincoln Center, the MunsonWilliams-Proctor Art Institute, and the Sheldon Museum of Art, among others, as well as commissions from Johnson’s clients, including John de Menil and the Schlumberger oil company.

As a painter, Lustig Cohen developed a hard-edged style in the 1960s and 1970s that engaged the physicality of the canvas’ flat surface. Employing a simplified formal language that includes solid colors and abstract geometric shapes, her paintings allude to her design work as well as the contemporaneous practices of other artists who strove to dissolve the barriers between painting and objecthood.

Special thanks to Prem Krishnamurthy and P!, New York.

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