This project seeks to establish the significant aesthetic contributions of Ukrainians to 20th Century art and design, and proposes that a defining medium for Ukrainian design is found in book publishing.  Its scope of this project is a comprehensive overview of Ukrainian book design, spanning the broad middle of the 20th century from the 1920’s to the 1970’s. It includes books printed in Ukraine and in the diaspora. The project encompasses the publication of a high-quality large-format art book and an accompanying exhibit.

The primary aim of the survey is to demonstrate the aesthetic significance, distinctiveness, and accomplishment of modern Ukrainian design. Therefore, the editorial focus will be to judge content first and foremost on artistic merit. Work will be selected for its excellence in illustration, design, composition, typography, technique and execution. One of the most exciting aspects of this project is the potential contemporary interest in the work. There is a renewed passion in design today for woodblock printing, abstract illustration, hand-rendered decorative typography, geometric composition, and letterpress and screen printing. These aspects are all fundamental to Ukrainian design; furthermore they are distinctively executed, with a world -class level of craft and technique.

Further, the project will connect Ukrainian book design to a larger historical and cultural context.  It will identify distinct sources of inspiration, from the international avant-garde to elements of folkloric symbolism. The narrative of the history of Ukrainian design will define major eras and themes, and spotlight key artists and their works.

Lastly, the project aims to fill a gap in the common understanding of the spectrum of Eastern European design traditions. Whereas the significance of both Russian Constructivism and Supremacism, and Polish surrealist graphics are well documented, there is an utter void regarding Ukrainian design, both in general awareness and scholarship.

Given the scope and aspiration of the project, it is intended for multiple audiences. The primary readership is one interested in 20th Century graphic art and design. A subset of that audience is a cohort of contemporary practicing designers and artists, always looking for fresh sources of inspiration. The secondary audience is academic. Lastly, the project would hold great appeal to a general Ukrainian readership in North America, which numbers 10,000 in the United States and 10,000 in Canada as well to readers in Ukraine (population over 45 million) who today are actively linking with the cultural achievements of Ukrainians outside of Ukraine.

EDITOR:
Dan Shepelavy is the Executive Creative Director at the Brownstein Group, an advertising agency in Philadephia. He is also a painter, frequent collagist, and occasional photographer. His work, as well as his weekly art & culture blog This, That, & Also, etc. can be found at shepelavy.com. In 1996 he co-founded The Telegraph Company, a record label/book publisher/distributor based in Brooklyn, New York, which operated until 2003. He is a contributing writer to Uppercase Magazine and a member of the Philadelphia Sketch Club.


ADVISORS:
Renata Holod is College for Women Class of 1963 Professor in the Humanities in the History of Art Department, and Curator, Near East Section of the University Museum at the University of Pennsylvania. Her publications include co-authorship of City in the Desert: Qasr al-Hayr East (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1978); Architecture and Community: Building in the Islamic World Today, (New York: Aperture, 1983); The Mosque and the Modern World (London: Thames & Hudson); and the Jerba Survey Project, An Island Through Time: Jerba Studies (Portsmouth RI: JRA Supplement, 2009). She is a contributing author in Lisa Gorlombek and Donald Wilber, The Timurid Architecture of Iran and Turan, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988). She has co-edited Modern Turkish Architecture (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania

Mark Andryczyk holds a Ph.D. in Ukrainian Literature from the University of Toronto (2005). He is currently an Associate Research Scholar at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University where he teaches Ukrainian Literature and administers the Ukrainian Studies Program at Columbia. He also taught at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv and at the University of Toronto. He is an active translator of contemporary Ukrainian literature into English and a musician who, under the name Yeezhak, has recorded three studio albums in Ukraine (1996, 1998, 2006).