Norman Ives: Constructions & Reconstructions is an in-depth chronicle of the spirit and genius of master fine artist and renowned graphic designer Norman Ives. This book introduces unseen treasures showcasing the brilliant variety and vitality of his work. It fully defines Ives’s signature use of letterform fragments. These became the lyrical strokes of his abstract constructions and reconstructions. The book is in itself a work of art.
Ives’s design and art anticipates the percolating type-as-art movement popularized by Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculptures. Type-related art has since become ubiquitous in painting and sculpture, as well as other massive architectural “type works.” Ives’s work fits squarely into this genre having roots in the early 20th-century Modern movement.
Ives was part of Josef Albers’ restructured Yale School of Art which transformed the traditional teaching of graphic design, leading it towards a more demanding and thoughtful profession. Ives was a rare artist who was recognized for his innovative work in design. However, his vision extended well beyond the field of graphic design. His paintings and collages are collected by major museums: The 1967 Whitney Annual exhibition of American painting, the Guggenheim Museum, Yale University Art Gallery and various other institutions.
John T. Hill is a graphic designer, author and photographer. Hill was Ives’s student and teaching colleague at the Yale University School of Art where he taught both graphic design and photography. Hill co-founded Yale’s first Department of Photography and was its first director of graduate studies.
For nineteen years, Hill was executor of the Walker Evans estate. He has produced a number of books and exhibitions on this iconic artist. Most recent was Walker Evans: Depth of Field, a comprehensive book and exhibition sponsored by the Josef Albers Museum. Hill is currently focused on book and exhibition design, and writing. Two of his book designs were selected for the AIGA 50 Books of the Year Award.
About Norman Ives (1923-1978): After serving five years in the United States Coast Guard, Ives began studies at Wesleyan University. Upon his graduation in 1950, he enrolled in a graduate art program at Yale University, becoming a member of the first class to reflect Josef Albers’s tectonic restructuring. After graduating, Ives joined the design department faculty and was soon honored as “teacher of the year.”
As a quintessential artist, Ives was attracted to graphic design where he might create works that balanced his passion for form with the additional need to reach a broader audience. His elegant symbols are most notable examples of that balance. Ives’s eight-foot square painting, Number 3- L, was selected for the 1967 Whitney Annual Exhibition of American Artists. That same year, Mildred Constantine created an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art titled 3 graphic designers featuring the work of Norman Ives, Massimo Vignelli and Almir Mavignier
About the Norman S. Ives Foundation: As co-publisher of this book, the Norman S. Ives Foundation’s mission is to preserve and promote the legacy of Norman Ives. Various publications and exhibitions are planned. More information on the book and the Ives Foundation are here: www.normanives.org