radical modernism

New Chicago Design Museum Exhibition Celebrates Radical Modernism of Designer Dan Friedman


“We should return to a belief in a radical spirit— the idea that design is something that can help improve society and people’s condition.” – Dan Friedman

Dan Friedman: Radical Modernist explores the work of the designer, artist and posthumous 2015 recipient of the AIGA Medal from the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Curated by Friedman himself prior to his death in 1995, the exhibit reflects his kaleidoscopic career, including pieces of eccentric furniture, experimental sculptural installations, found art exploring American and street culture, and printed materials showing his influential New Wave typography.

Alongside contemporaries like Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Jeff Koons, Friedman coined the term “Radical Modernism” to differentiate his design philosophy from the formal structures of Modernism. He taught at Yale University’s graduate graphic design program and founded the visual arts program at the State University of New York at Purchase, serving as chairman of the graphic design department from 1972 to 1975. Friedman created the iconic Citibank logo, used by the bank from 1976 to 2001, while working at Anspach Grossman Portugal, and later joined the legendary design firm Pentagram.

“Friedman is responsible for shifting the perception of graphic design from a solely commercial craft to a visual art form and an essential element of culture,” said ChiDM Executive Creative Director Matthew Terdich. “His ‘radical modernist agenda’ is as relevant today as it was 20 years ago.”

Exhibition opens at the Chicago Design Museum April 28, with a reception from 6pm – 9pm

Tuesdays – Saturdays, 12pm – 7pm

The museum is located on the third floor of Block Thirty Seven, 108 N. State St. in downtown Chicago. For more information please visit