Masterpieces & Curiosities: Elaine Lustig Cohen at The Jewish Museum, August 17, 2018 – August 11, 2019

“Masterpieces and Curiosities: Elaine Lustig Cohen features over 30 works by the pioneering graphic designer and artist. One of seven sections that make up the Jewish Museum’s third floor collection exhibition, Scenes from the Collection, ‘Masterpieces and Curiosities’ offers an in-depth examination of a single object or group of objects within a larger cultural, historical, or aesthetic context. This iteration of ‘Masterpieces and Curiosities’ will focus on six Jewish Museum catalogues whose covers and interiors were playfully and ingeniously designed by Elaine Lustig Cohen (1927-2016). Over six decades of practice, Cohen moved between diverse activities including art-making and rare book dealing, as well as design. This exhibition will bring together the public sphere of her graphic design work and the private vision of her paintings, highlighting a pivotal moment and a singular voice in American visual culture of the twentieth century.

The exhibition includes six Jewish Museum exhibition catalogues: Toward a New Abstraction (1963); Recent American Sculpture (1964); Kenneth Noland (1965); Primary Structures (1966); Ad Reinhardt (1966); and Masada (1967). Also included are a selection of paintings from the 1960s and 1970s; approximately ten of Cohen’s typographic, abstract, and photographic book jacket designs that show her unique style and attention to content; and graphic pieces such as posters, bags, and invitations for the Jewish Museum.” — The Jewish Museum

Elaine Lustig Cohen. Untitled, 1967. Acrylic on canvas. Artwork © Estate of Elaine Lustig Cohen

Elaine Lustig Cohen. Design for Queen Esther Ball invitation, 1964. Artwork © Estate of Elaine Lustig Cohen

Elaine Lustig Cohen. Design for a Hanukkah party invitation, 1964. Artwork © Estate of Elaine Lustig Cohen

Elaine Lustig Cohen. Cover design for “Masada,” 1967. Artwork © Estate of Elaine Lustig Cohen

Elaine Lustig Cohen. Cover design for “Primary Structures,” 1966. Artwork © Estate of Elaine Lustig Cohen

Elaine Lustig Cohen. Poster design for “The Hebrew Bible in Christian, Jewish and Muslim Art: The Michael M. Zagayski Collection of Ceremonial Art,” 1963. Offset lithograph on off-white wove paper. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, Gift of Tamar Cohen and Dave Slatoff, 1993-31-81. Artwork © Estate of Elaine Lustig Cohen; image provided by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum / Art Resource, New York

The exhibition is organized by Prem Krishnamurthy, Curator, K, Berlin, and Partner & Director, Wkshps, New York; Cole Akers, Curator and Special Projects Manager, The Glass House, a National Trust Historic Site; and Shira Backer, Leon Levy Assistant Curator, The Jewish Museum. 

Images courtesy The Jewish Museum.