MODULAR22 / gallery exhibition posters and book design - 2012

MODULAR22 / exhibition design - 2012

Modular22 design exhibit promotional postcard

In the summer and fall of 2012, Jessica Calek and I organized Modular22, the largest and most ambitious of the exhibits staged at the 22 studio and gallery we ran for a year and a half in Berwyn. The project involved work from over one hundred artists, designers, and architects from around the globe.

With Modular22, we wanted to create a large-scale installation that would bring the display infrastructure of a gallery to the foreground. In this way, we could approach the normally hidden infrastructure as being just as important as the artwork it’s used to display. This gave us the chance to move artwork off of the traditional contextless “white cube” walls of a gallery and onto an architectural form that was equal parts sculptural installation, meeting place, and monument. In other words, the display infrastructure was not just a support system. It was an integral part of the exhibit.

The structure consisted of 360 interlocking 1’ x 2’ wooden panels, most of which contained artwork created by artists and designers from all over the world. The content of this artwork was left up to the participants -- the only requirement was that the images had to be black and white, in order to lend the entire project a sense of cohesive identity. Some artists, mostly local to the Chicago area, created work directly on the wooden panels, while others sent digital files that we printed and applied to the panels. Eight feet tall and twenty-seven feet long, the finished structure is a monument to collaboration, communication, organization, and variety.

Modular22 design exhibit installation photo

For me, the Modular22 project provided an opportunity to create a visual vocabulary, or branding system, that encompassed everything from a series of event posters, a Kickstarter fundraising video, informational wall panels placed in the gallery during the exhibition, and a 350-page book of extensive essays and documentation. This branding system was based on hand-drawn renderings of the Modular22 wall itself, accompanied by geometric typography that echoed the monumental rectangular forms of the wall. Copies of the Modular22 book can be purchased here.

Modular22 design exhibit promotional poster
Modular22 design exhibit gallery reception photo

The Modular22 exhibit was on display at the 22 studio for three months. Accompanying the exhibit was a series of satellite events, including a discussion group and a closing party that featured a music installation and performance. These smaller events gave me the opportunity to deconstruct the branding system I had created for Modular22 and create alternate versions and renditions for a series of posters.

Modular22 design exhibit announcement poster
Modular22 design exhibit discussion panel poster
Modular22 design exhibit closing reception poster
Modular22 design exhibit installation construction photo
Modular22 design exhibit installation photo