Messages and Means: Muriel Cooper at MIT


Muriel Cooper, self-portrait with Polaroid SX-70, video imaged and printed at the Visible Language Workshop, MIT, c. 1982

Muriel Cooper worked across four decades at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in overlapping roles as a graphic designer, teacher, and researcher. Spanning the transition from print, to early explorations of digital typography, to fully evolved information environments, Cooper’s tenure at MIT maps onto one of the most dynamic periods of the school’s technical, conceptual and theoretical development.
As the first Design Director of the MIT Press, Cooper established a comprehensive publishing program and designed books like The Bauhaus (1969) and Learning from Las Vegas (1972). As co-founder of the Visible Language Workshop, she taught experimental printing, tested large-format Polaroid photography, and integrated video systems in MITs Department of Architecture. And at the MIT Media Lab, she developed some of the earliest computer interfaces and educated a generation of designers. Throughout, her approach remained consistent: creating tools and systems for rapid feedback, dissolving boundaries between design and production, and restlessly seeking out new problems.

The exhibition Messages and Means: Muriel Cooper at MIT, organized by David Reinfurt and Robert Wiesenberger with Mark Wasiuta, will take place at Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery, Columbia University, New York, from February 25 to March 28, 2014.

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