Filed under Happenings at Bard

Latter-day Bauhaus? Muriel Cooper and the Digital Imaginary

Robert Wiesenberger is the 2014–16 Stefan Engelhorn Curatorial Fellow at the Harvard Art Museums, where he is responsible for their Bauhaus collections, and a Critic at the Yale School of Art, where he teaches a first-year seminar in the MFA program in graphic design. He is completing his doctoral dissertation at Columbia University, where he specializes in modern and contemporary art, architecture and design. His dissertation treats the work of the late American designer Muriel Cooper.
Muriel Cooper in conversation with unidentified males, c.1972

Graphic designer Muriel Cooper’s career at MIT spanned the transition from print to software, from the MIT Press in the 1960s to the Media Lab in the 1980s. Perhaps her best-known achievement in print was the monumental and still authoritative tome The Bauhaus, released by the MIT Press in 1969. But less known are Cooper’s restagings of that book in multiple media, including posters, a film, and an exhibition. This research coincided with her first exposure to computer programming, and can be understood as a way of prototyping in analog the effects she would spend her career seeking from software. The Bauhaus is thus both a landmark and an inflection point for Cooper: at once her masterpiece in print and evidence of a growing anxiety about the medium; a gesture toward reading’s possible futures, and a source of durable metaphors for them. Choosing this book for her research was also no coincidence: In both scale and subject, The Bauhaus was an ideal test case for Cooper.

Thursday, October 15, 2015
3:10-4:30 pm
RKC 103 – Lazlo Z. Bito ’60 Auditorium