Exhibition Catalog Now Available: Up is Down: Mid-Century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio

Up is Down: Mid-Century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio 

Edited by Amy Beste and Corinne Granof, 2018 – With contributions by Dan Bashara, Amy Beste, Greg D’Onofrio, Thomas Dyja, Corinne Granof, Justus Nieland, Talia Shabtay, Lynn Spigel and Andy Uhrich

Published by The Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University

ISBN: 978-1732568402 (softcover)

 210 pages; 137 color illustrations

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The Block Museum is pleased to announce the release of the exhibition companion publication Up is Down: Mid-Century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio.  The book is the first to examine the work of the innovative Chicago-based design firm, Goldsholl Design Associates, its principals Morton and Millie Goldsholl, and their extensive impact on design and film nationally from the 1950s through the 1970s. The firm’s work for such companies as Motorola, Kimberly-Clark, Revlon, and 7-Up transformed the look of advertising and brought experimental modernism and Bauhaus styles to a broad American public. The book provides background to the Goldsholls’ training at the School of Design in Chicago and an overview of their innovative designs in print, film, branding, and advertising.


Inspired by the ideas and ideals of artist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, with whom they had studied at Chicago’s School of Design, Morton and Millie Goldsholl fostered a culture of exploration and collaboration in their studio. The firm became known for its imaginative “designs-in-film,” applying avant-garde techniques to commercial productions. Its groundbreaking work in the new media of television helped redefine the look of everyday visual culture in mid-century America.

The trailblazing work of Goldsholl Design Associates remains an unexplored contribution within American design and advertising.  Published in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name at The Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, this volume’s research explores how a new visual language emerged from Chicago’s cross-fertilization of avant-garde aesthetics, business, and cutting-edge media.  Intended as a complement to the themes of the exhibition the book contextualizes the Goldsholls’ work within graphic design, early television, Chicago’s film industry, and mid-century animation histories. It enhances the exhibition by considering the times in which the Goldsholls worked—a period of considerable transformation in American society and especially in advertising and American consumer culture.

“This text expands the fields of mid-century art and visual culture, graphic design, early television, animation, and film, within the framework of Chicago’s unique environment.” notes editor Corinne Granof.  “Themes within the book also include the Goldsholl firm’s unusual hiring practices. Their progressive approach coincided with a growing consciousness in American culture and key moments in 20th century American history, such as the Civil Rights movement, anti-Vietnam War protests, and the women’s movement.”



  • Director’s Foreword – Lisa G. Corrin
  • Acknowledgments – Lisa G. Corrin
  • Plugged into the City: Morton and Millie Goldsholl in Chicago  – Thomas Dyja
  • Good Design: Goldsholl Design Associates and Chicago’s School of Design in Mid-Century America  – Amy Beste
  • The Goldsholls: Eclectic Modern – Greg D’Onofrio
  • To Find Oneself an Explorer: Millie Goldsholl and the Early Years at the Studio – Corinne Granof
  • Designs for the Small Screen – Lynn Spigel
  • Audiences First, Buyers Second: Morton and Millie Goldsholl’s Design Approach to Business Films – Andy Uhrich
  • Seeing Under Things: Animation and the Expansion of Vision at the Goldsholl Studio – Dan Bashara
  • Goldsholl Vision: Systems of Display, Technologies of Design  – Talia Shabtay
  • Conference Technique: The Goldsholls and the Aspen Idea – Justus Nieland


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