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Designed to be Seen – Creative Broadcast: Communication, Commercials, and Advertising

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 ,  6pm

The McCormick Theater, Chicago History Museum
1601 North Clark Street, Chicago IL 60614 , go to map

Admissions: Free


still from Magazine Publishers Association “First Impression (1964)

Designed to be Seen: Art and Function in Chicago Mid-Century Film presents—for the very first time—a series of screenings that reframe the history of cinema in Chicago through various lenses and modes of production. This four program series illuminates the diverse factors that have shaped the filmic landscape of the region from the mid-century through the 1970s.

Form and Function: The Legacy of the Institute of Design, provides historical context and a new perspective on the lasting impact of Lászlo Moholy-Nagy’s teachings at the New Bauhaus. Two programs, The New World: Industrial, Corporate and Sponsored Film and Creative Broadcast: Communication, Commercials and Advertising, focused on industrial, commercial, sponsored, and advertising films, examine the innovative design work being done on film in the mid-century. Personal Legacies: Materiality and Abstraction, presents personal and experimental films made by the artists who worked for the design studios and corporations highlighted in the second and third programs of the series. As a whole, the series tells a chapter of Chicago’s history on film that has yet to be seen.

This series uncovers the interconnected histories of commercial and artistic film production in Chicago and, in doing so, sheds new light on the multitude of ways in which art and design industries overlapped and intersected in the city. Designed to be Seen explores the distinct genres and production models that were most dominant during this period of time and provides a new perspective on filmmaking in Chicago. It illustrates the innovative ways in which artists and designers used the moving image to both tell and sell the stories of their time.

The four screenings in the program are timed to complement other concurrent exhibitions taking place as part of the Terra Foundation’s Art Design Chicago Initiative, including those at our host venues: The Chicago Cultural Center and the Chicago History Museum. Designed to be Seen is part of Art Design Chicago, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art exploring Chicago’s art and design legacy, with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Designed to be Seen is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. 

Advertising agencies such as Leo Burnett have been based in Chicago since the late 19th century. Creative Broadcast: Communication, Commercials and Advertising highlights the work of a few innovative firms and designers. Films include Magazine Publishers Association “First Impression” (1964); Blue Cross Blue Shield “We Need Each Other” (1971); and various commercials for United Airlines, Schlitz Malt Liquor, and American Republic Insurance.

Program Introduction and Post-Screening Discussion: Michael Golec (Chair and Associate Professor of Art and Design History, Department of Art History, Theory & Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago)


The McCormick Theater, Chicago History Museum
1601 North Clark Street, Chicago IL 60614
go to map