Block Museum UP IS DOWN Exhibit and related Events Preview

Fred Nomiya, Thomas Miller, and John Weber at Goldsholl Design Associates, c. 1959 Photo Courtesy of Thomas H.E. Miller Design Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University Library, University of Illinois at Chicago

On November 7, The Block Museum of Art will host a gallery talk See the Light: Inside the Exhibition “Up is Down,” in conjunction with the exhibition, UP IS DOWN: Mid-Century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio, curators Amy Besteand Corinne Granof, and director of the Segal Design Institute, Greg Holderfield, will share their perspectives on the groundbreaking design of Morton and Millie Goldsholl. This gallery talk will include insight into the Goldsholl’s studio practice, investigating how play and experimentation inspired their commercial work.

Goldsholl Design Associates, still from “Beautiful Life” commercial for Revlon, 1977 Photo Courtesy of Thomas H.E. Miller Design Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University Library, University of Illinois at Chicago
Goldsholl Design Associates in collaboration with Lef Steinwohl, photograph of logotype for 7-Up “See the Light” campaign, c. 1974 Photo Courtesy of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group
Morton Goldsholl, still from Faces and Fortunes for Kimberly-Clark Corporation, 1959. 16mm film, 13 minutes. Goldsholl Design Associates. Chicago Film Archive. Photo Courtesy of Goldsholl Design Associates, Chicago Film Archive

Up Is Down will include rarely seen films, as well as photography, glass slides, posters, print advertisements, and package design that tell the story of the creative life of the studio. The exhibition will highlight some of the iconic corporate logos designed by Morton Goldsholl and the firm and showcase prominent advertising campaigns by the firm. Goldsholl Design Associates’ work for Motorola, Kimberly-Clark, IMC, and Martin-Senour, established the firm as leaders in the design industry. Other corporate relationships such as their work for Revlon, 7UP, the National Football League, and PBS offered opportunities for technical experimentation with light, collage, and technology, for which the firm developed its own tools and inventions.

The Goldsholl Design Associates worked at the cross-section of art, design, advertising, and visual culture, producing television spots, films, trademarks, corporate identities, and print advertisements for Kimberly-Clark, the National Football League, Revlon, Motorola, and 7-Up. The Goldsholl’s innovative integration of film with other forms of visual production, such as print advertising and brand development, placed them at the forefront of their peers in design and the wider community of filmmakers in Chicago. Although they were compared to some of the most celebrated design firms of the day, the Goldsholls and their designers are relatively unknown today. The Block Museum’s exhibition Up is Down: Mid-Century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio reexamines the innovative work of the firm and its national impact from the mid-1950s through the 1970s.

Up is Down is a participating event in Art Design Chicago.

Morton and Millie Goldsholl, c. 1971 Photo Courtesy of the Goldsholl Family
18. Goldsholl Design Associates, Vienna Beef Trademark and Packaging Design, c. 1971, reproduced in 27 Designers, 1973 Photo Courtesy of Vienna Beef

Photos Courtesy of the Goldsholl Family and the Block Museum of  Art 

Exhibition Highlights


Untitled Slide Experiments (1939-1940): The exhibition will display of a series of “light paintings,” created by Morton Goldsholl. In the early 1940s, Goldsholl assembled approximately forty miniature collages between two pieces of 35 millimeter slide glass. He combined bits of leaves, cotton, seeds, insects, feathers, paint, and fragments of film to create colorful abstract imagery that is transformed when projected. When light is shown through the slides, these experimental assemblages become ephemeral abstractions.


Faces and Fortunes (1959): This film solidified the Goldsholls’ standing as designers in film and is a visual representation of the history and value of corporate branding. Produced for Kimberly-Clark as part of the corporation’s efforts to position itself as the leader in paper production, Faces and Fortunes grows out of Morton Goldsholl’s research and pioneering work in the then-nascent field of corporate identity.


See the Light (c. 1975): This short television ad grows out of a larger campaign to rebrand 7-Up and its products, including bottles, packaging, and other advertising materials. Drawing inspiration from the visual landscape of advertising itself, the ad is composed of a grid of dots, much like the electric billboards of the day. The lighted grid reflects the Goldsholl’s training with Moholy-Nagy, who emphasized light as a medium. It also showcases streamlined pictographs and minimalist trademark design, which was integral to the firm’s larger success in corporate identity design.

Up is Down (1969): Dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr., Up is Down tells the story of difference, diversity, and the potential dangers of state and social institutions through the eyes of an unconventional young boy. The curators describe this as follows, “Combining faux-naive hand-drawn animations with an astonishing flashframe montage of 20th century atrocities, Up is Down is at once a children’s lesson, a political lament, and a vehicle for social consciousness. It reflects many of the social and aesthetic lessons the Goldsholls first learned at the School of Design, while also expressing a growing ambivalence many at the firm began to have about the ability to solve entrenched social inequities through design.”


Nov 7, 2018
6pm – 7:30pm
See the Light: Inside the Exhibition "Up is Down"
Sept 18 – Dec 9, 2018
Up is Down: Mid-Century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio



Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Cir Drive
Evanston, IL



More information can be found on the See the Light: Inside the Exhibition "Up is Down" Eventbrite page

Admission to the museum is free and open to the public

Block Museum of Art Hours

Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Museum is closed Mondays.

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