For any contemporary art collector and design demiurge worth her salt, there is one Chicago exhibition that captures the fractured attention span, the desiccated heart and the mercurial imagination every year: Typeforce. Because typographic design and Chicago artists.
Now in its sixth iteration, Typeforce 6 opened recently with a party at Bridgeport’s Co-Prosperity Sphere. The show features twenty-five typographic and letter-based designers and artists whose work occupies ten-feet-by-ten-feet of wall or floor space. With a focus on new work, the show features a stylized, gorgeous new window display each year, setting the tone for the exhibition and showcasing exquisitely executed, site-specific construction and experimentation in contemporary letter-based design. Past installations have announced the exhibition’s arrival through delicately hung fabric, hand-rolled paper tubes, and LED-lit wooden frames, all painstakingly fabricated to spell out “Typeforce.”
While Typeforce is known for introducing new talent, the current show features a number of Chicago mainstays including Design 50 inductees Matthew Hoffman and Matt Wizinsky. The show is co-curated by Firebelly Design and Public Media Institute. If you’ve noticed little brands called Divvy, Pecha Kucha and Groupon, or get your morning coffee at Dollop, or have ever swung by the Rebuilding Exchange, then you’ve seen Firebelly’s work. And if you’ve ever gone to Version Festival or picked up a copy of Proximity, Mash Tun, or Lumpen, then you know PMI, which publishes all three—plus the Firebelly-designed Typeforce catalogues, released annually at the close of each Typeforce exhibition.
Each page of the catalogue features art and design from the show and captures the energy of the opening reception, offering participating artists broad exposure and enthusiastic viewers a beautifully designed memento. Pick up previous Typeforce volumes for $20 a pop on Firebelly’s website, and snag a copy of this year’s at the Typeforce 6 closing party and book release on Thursday, February 26, also at Co-Pro. (Brook Rosini)
Through February 26 at Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219-21 South Morgan