View of "Zak Kyes Working With..." at Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, 2011.
Courtesy of Galerie fur Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig
Photography by Sebastian Schröder

Sternberg Press publication exploring the work of graphic designer Zak Kyes

May 11 2012
1:37 PM

In an obituary for Steve Jobs, a long-time Apple supporter, writer and actor Stephen Fry wrote that it would be naive to maintain the distinction between style and substance. Today style determines usability no less than substances does. Current debates in the art world would be incomplete without considering the role graphic design plays in shaping the identities of art institutions and practices. The increasingly interchangeable roles of artists and designers, along with the numerous collaborative initiatives between the two creative fields, open up the development of a more critical understanding of design’s potentiality in facing contemporary capitalist systems. Among the key figures exploring the critical potential of contemporary graphic design is Zak Kyes, who stands behind the production of numerous art publications and designs for art institutions—the work that earned him the INFORM Award in 2010. As a recipient of this annual accolade, Kyes was presented an opportunity to exhibit his works at the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig. Accompanying the exhibition is a Sternberg Press publication, Working With…, in which a multitude of contributors, from Andrew Blauvelt to Marcus Miessen, examine the designer’s critical engagement in shaping the dialogue between art and design. Locating this relationship under the umbrella of economics and politics, the book contributes to the current discourse regarding the questions of authorship, identity and collaboration. (Aliina Astrova)