Exhibitions

Making A Mark: The Art of Creating a Visual Identity
Newport Art Museum, Newport, Rhode Island, May 19 – October 28, 2012
Networks 2010
Newport Art Museum, Newport, Rhode Island, November 6, 2010 – January 17, 2011
Inside/Outside: Design and Process, Malcolm Grear Designers
Bannister Gallery, Rhode Island College, April 3–24, 2008
Graphic Content: Contemporary and Modern / Art and Design
Charley Harper, Malcolm Grear, Ryan McGinnis (three-person exhibition)
December 2006–February 2007, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati
Malcolm Grear: The Art of Design
(studio retrospective exhibit) 1996–present
Traveled to:
Art Academy of Cincinnati
Art Institute of Boston
Center for Rural Development, Somerset, KY
Cincinnati Art Museum
Eastern Kentucky University
Hunter Museum of American Art
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
Myers School of Art, University of Akron
Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Malcolm Grear Designers
(studio exhibit) 1970–present
Traveled to:
The American Institute of Graphic Arts, Brown University
California College of Arts and Crafts
Dryden Gallery, Providence, RI
Louisville School of Art
Maryland Institute
New Mexico State University
Pensicola Jr. College
Providence College
Rhode Island School of Design
Roger Williams University
St. Botolph Club, Boston
Union College
University of Bridgeport
University of Connecticut
University of Iowa
University of Nebraska Kearney
University of South Dakota
Washington University School of Fine Arts
Western Carolina University
Worcester Art Museum
Communication by Design: Muriel Cooper, Malcolm Grear, Norman Ives, Carl Zahn
(four-person exhibition) 1964
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA
Traveled to:
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design

Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati

Graphic Content: Contemporary and Modern/Art and Design opened at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati December 8, 2006. The exhibition, which runs through February 2008, consists of five successive installations showcasing several noted artists and designers. The first features the work of Malcolm Grear, Charley Harper, and Ryan McGinness through February 26, 2007. Graphic Content came about as a collaboration between senior curator, Toby Kamps and designer/celebrity Todd Oldham.
The Grear installation features two walls of over 25 visual identities, including the Guggenheim Museum, Sonesta International Hotels, Lifespan, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Vanderbilt University, and the iconic 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. Several books designed by Malcolm Grear Designers are represented, including Powers of Ten (with Charles and Ray Eames for Scientific American Library). Visitors get a dramatic sense of the design process by seeing both the maquette and the full-size accordion-fold mock-up of the book Anthony Quinn’s Eye extended up to the gallery’s ceiling. Grear’s collaborative work with artist Dieter Roth is demonstrated with the inclusion of the catalogue Recent Still Lifewhich is accompanied by two limited edition prints.
At the heart of Grear’s working method is a deep-seated interest in form and structure. He believes in closely examining the inner parts of an object or a process to understand the whole. His forms come from nature, typography, art and design. A typical Malcolm Grear design operates on multiple levels; there is balance of literal and symbolic signification and of full and empty space.
Born in rural Mill Springs, Kentucky, during the Great Depression, Malcolm Grear grew up accustomed to having to invent from nothing a solution to whatever challenge he faced — an experience that continues to influence each design challenge. In 1960, Grear was recruited to teach at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and helped to form the Graphic Design department. The practice of inventing a solution where none exists together with his view that good design can bring not just beauty but can serve as a source of inspiration, are the cornerstones of his work. In his teaching at RISD and professional career at Malcolm Grear Designers, Grear has worked to continually cultivate both theory and practice.
He attributes his passionate engagement with ideas as well as clients to his experience at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he studied under two other Graphic Content artists, Noel Martin and Charley Harper, “I count myself fortunate to have been educated by members of the first generation of graphic designers in this country: sculptors, painters, and printmakers who were also designers and teachers…they maintained integrity at both levels.” Believing that “art is everywhere except it has to pass through a creative mind,” Malcolm Grear unites design and art through an inspired application of reason and emotion.

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Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center exhibition Graphic Content features work by Malcolm Grear.

Click to Watch Video

Malcolm Grear on Visual Identity, a short video presentation.