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Moving downtown from last year’s inaugural exhibition inside a Humboldt Park warehouse, the Chicago Design Museum, a month-long pop-up exhibition opening June 1, won't lose any of its curatorial edge this year.  

For 2013, ChiDM’s sharp yet eclectic lineup unites different disciplines of art and design under the theme of "play," and seeks to "speak to an underlying discussion in the design community about whether design is art, designers are artists, and if either a pursuit to create work that was personal (content self-generated) or commercial (content from/for a client) could be deemed a nobler pursuit than the other," according to design director Jim Thomas.

(Images below are meant to showcase the work of some of the featured artists; they may not be included or displayed at the museum)


"Hemlock," Marian Bantjes

Featured designers for this year's exhibit include: Vancouver-based Marian Bantjes, a graphic artist whose kinetic typesetting led Stefan Sagmeister to call her “one of the most innovative typographers working today”; local ad-world icon John Massey, who worked at Container Corporation of America and the Center for Advanced Research in Design (CARD) and made these amazing Chicago posters; New Wave Swiss typographer and graphic designer Wolfgang Weingart; and Michael C. Place, founder of Build and a former member of Designer’s Republic, the seminal Sheffield studio responsible for many famous record designs for labels like Warp.

John Massey, Flag

“The board members of ChiDM talked a lot about designers who experimented with creating new ways to present visual information,” says Thomas, “whether it be through simplifying elements to include only those that communicate the intended message, like John Massey, or pushing the limits of new technology (or old technology used in new ways), like Wolfgang Weingart. We also have two designers in the exhibition, Marian Bantjes and Michael C. Place, who quit established practices to create work that was more personal to them, both in content and context. These second two are still very much in the prime of their design practice and we are excited to watch where their experimentation will lead them, and the design community, in the years to come.“

Urbanized poster by Build

The museum, which opens at Block 37 in Chicago's loop, will also showcase its own curated exhibition of new work, Re/view, based around the theme of optical illusions.

“Pieces in Re/view play with the idea of illusions as something that takes more than one look and multiple vantage points,” says Reina Takahashi, special exhibits curator. “Artists pushed this in a number of different ways—pieces that make you step back, look closely, stand on a specific point in the room, or even turn the viewer into the subject of an illusion. Interpretations of the theme varied from those that took a historical look back at the traditional optical illusion, to those that incorporated their own personal narrative.”

The Chicago Design Museum will be open June 1–30, and host a variety of special events. On June 6, 6-8pm, Pop-up Art Loop will host a First Thursday's Gallery Walk. Marian Bantjes will give a design talk on June 8 from 2-4pm. The museum’s kick-off reception will be held in the ChiDM space June 10 at 7pm. Adobe will host a Create Now event, showcasing new developments with the Adobe Creative Cloud on June 18. Visit ChiDM online for more information.