Written by Mathieu Doublet.
The Art Institute of Chicago is pleased to announce « Dan Friedman: Stay Radical », the first museum retrospective focused on the extraordinary
and under recognized career of American designer Dan Friedman. The exhibit will feature more than 50 works that showcase Friedman’s
unbounded creativity through posters, books, large-scale assemblages, and iconoclastic furniture designs. Drawn primarily from the Art Institute’s collection, this exhibition charts Friedman’s remarkable mid career transformation from a graphic designer to a multimedia creator whose neon-colored works defy traditional categories. His unconventional style led to diverse collaborations with some of the most prominent artists living in New York City in the early 1980s, including Jean Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Tseng Kwong Chi. Friedman became increasingly invested in work addressing the political and social issues of his time, including rapidly evolving technology, environmental pollution, and South African apartheid. The most iconic of these projects - his 1987 Art Against AIDS Poster - was created to help combat the AIDS crisis, a disease that had a devastating impact on Friedman’s artistic community in New York and claimed his own life in 1995. Building on the Art Institute’s early acquisition of Friedman’s work in 1989, this exhibition represents a timely, wide-ranging examination of a major, yet underexplored figure in 20th century design whose unbridled practice speaks to stylistic and political directions in art and design today.