The Artists We Lost in 2016
Best known as a pioneering graphic designer, Elaine Lustig Cohen married European avant-garde and Modernist techniques with a uniquely American, mid-century aesthetic to produce a body of work full of punch, playfulness, and striking formal inventiveness. Lustig Cohen’s independent career began in 1955, when the untimely death of her husband, renowned graphic designer Alvin Lustig, forced her to take over his studio. She soon developed her own distinctive style, designing catalogues, printed materials, and signage for prestigious museums and architectural clients, among them Philip Johnson. Dadaism and Constructivism inform her compositions, which are at once chaotic and tightly controlled energetic juxtapositions of words, symbols, and images. In the 1960s, Lustig Cohen turned her attention to art-making, producing abstract paintings and image-rich collages and mixed-media compositions that recall her design work.