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titlePeter Piening: Abstract Visions in Modernist Graphic Design

‘Peter Piening: Abstract Visions in Modernist Graphic Design’ according to Page, “will highlight Piening’s significant contributions to the field of modernist graphic design from the 1930s-1960s and his role as a teacher and mentor at Syracuse University (1958-1973). The exhibit will bring together for the first time his logo and trademark designs as well as dynamic abstract commercial work created for numerous publications and record albums.”

  1. Peter Piening (1908-1977) was a German American graphic designer and educator.

Born in Grabow, Germany, he studied at the Bauhaus and received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Berlin in 1931. After graduation, Piening began working in publishing in Berlin and was among many European artists of his era who fled the Nazi occupation of Germany. He traveled to Paris and worked for Conde Nast before coming to the United States in 1934.

In New York, Piening began working at Vogue magazine and later worked with numerous New York advertising agencies and publishing houses. He was the Art Editor for Life magazine in 1937, and from 1941-1944 he was the Art Director at Fortune magazine. His editorial expertise led to freelance work for additional publications such as Architectural Record, Town & Country, and Cosmopolitan. He also produced creative work for Lincoln, Ford, Shell Oil, and Ballantine Beer.

In addition to his design practice, Piening was also an educator who taught at the Art Students League and New York University before being appointed Professor of Advertising Design at Syracuse University in 1958. He taught at Syracuse University until his retirement in 1973.

‘M. Peter Piening: Abstract Visions in Modernist Graphic Design’ was curated by Meri A. Page, Assistant Professor of Communications Design. The exhibition will be on view at the Sue and Leon Genet Gallery, located on the first floor of the Nancy Cantor Warehouse from October 29 through December 19, 2021. A public reception at the gallery will take place on Thursday, November 11 from 5-7 pm.

This exhibition is supported by a Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts Research Grant.



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titleMary McFadden: American Fashion Designer

Mary McFadden: American Fashion Designer

August 30- October 15, 2021

SYRACUSE — A new exhibit at Syracuse University’s Sue and Leon Genet Gallery at the School of Design features distinctive garments that reflect an avid study of ancient and ethnic cultures.

‘Mary McFadden: American Fashion Designer’ showcases the work of a ‘design archeologist’ as she gathers inspiration from diverse cultures and ancient civilizations. From African tribes to the Egyptian pharaohs, ancient Greece and Rome to Byzantium, they all act to inform her collections. McFadden realizes these design elements through the use of hand painting, quilting, beading and embroidery.

McFadden proclaims “I’ve done 60 collections, each based on an ancient civilization, and I went to all those places,”

Born in 1938 into a textile family, McFadden studied in Paris, earned a degree in fashion design from the Traphagen School of Design in NYC and a degree in sociology from Columbia University. She began a freelance design business in 1973 and in 1975 she patented a new process to pleat synthetic charmeuse into irregular pleats reminiscent of those created at the turn of the 19th century by Italian designer Mariano Fortuny. In 1976 she formed Mary McFadden Inc. and continued her business until closing in 2002.

Her patented fabric, called ‘Marii’, is created of synthetic charmeuse woven in Australia, dyed in Japan and machine pleated in NYC. Her concept was to create fabric that ‘falls like liquid gold on the body’.

Mary McFadden first spoke at Syracuse University as part of the Genet Lecture Series in 1992, and then returned in 2010 to the School of Design to again lecture about her as well as to host a fashion show of her original designs.

‘Mary McFadden; American Fashion Designer’ was curated by fashion design professor Jeffrey Mayer and features 17 original designs by McFadden dating from the late 1970s through the 1990s.The exhibition is on view from August 30- October 15, 2021 and is located in the Sue and Leon Genet Gallery which is on the first floor of the Nancy Cantor Warehouse. All garments are from the Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection housed within the Fashion Design Program in the School of Design, College of Visual and Performing Arts.

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