Spring 2008

How to write a Modernist’s obituary [extract]

Peter Seitz: Designing a Life

Edited by Andrew Blauvelt and Pamela Johnson
Designed by Andrew Blauvelt and Ryan Nelson
Essays by Bruce N. Wright, Kolean Pitner and Andrew Blauvelt
Minneapolis College of Art, $35

. . . Peter Seitz: Designing a Life is a concise, well designed and smartly written monograph published by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design that gets the word out on an all but forgotten designer. More than a slight exhibition catalogue or commemorative souvenir, this invaluable document examines the work of a significant mid-century Modernist and design teacher, who studied at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm and Yale University and, in turn, imported Modernism to the American Mid-West. By virtue of his geographical location Seitz may not have received the same canonical attention as those on East and West coasts, but his influence as an interpreter of mid-century European Modernist and Swiss practice is not merely noteworthy but integral to the history of the field. His identity and design work for the Walker Art Center, including the famous Design Quarterly, as well as the University of Minnesota, and dozens of regional businesses and industries deserve astute attention and analysis. Although Seitz has been acknowledged in small ways outside his bailiwick, this is the first critical mass of accomplishment . . .

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