Artist Statement

by Elaine Lustig Cohen

My life as an artist has been shaped by two passions: for graphic design created in the public sphere on the one hand, and by the exploration of a related private vision in painting, on the other.

The book jackets and museum catalogs I designed in the 1950’s and 1960’s were intended to give the voice of the book primacy of place. In experimenting with abstraction, photography, and a playful use of conceptual ideas, I found solutions that were not being used in mainstream publishing or museum catalog design at the time. During this period I was also a pioneer in the field of architectural identification, creating new type faces and signs for buildings by Philip Johnson and Eero Saarinen. The Seagram building at 375 Park was one of the first to establish a complete identity program throughout the building. At this time I also collaborated with Richard Meier on a series of interiors.

Arthur A. Cohen and I established Ex Libris (1972-1993) based on our interest in the history of twentieth century art and design. We specialized in avant-garde art and architecture books, periodicals, ephemera, and posters. During this period I continued to design and paint. In the last ten years, I have brought my worlds of design, photography and painting together in a series of collage works on paper.