COOPERMADE- FROM FORM TO FUNCTION
This week's edition of CooperMade begs the question: what is the line between sculpture and furniture? As the work of our three featured alumni shows, the distinction is largely irrelevant. Taking the lead from the materials they're attracted to, all three refuse to separate functionality from aesthetics with profoundly different results.
COOPERMADE - FROM STUDENT TO EDUCATOR
With the new academic year about to get underway, CooperMade presents three of the numerous alumni who have returned to their alma mater as educators. In addition to teaching, all three--Professors Hayley Eber, Mike Essl, and Ruben Savizky--serve as deans who help shape their respective programs. They spoke to us about classroom methodologies they developed that are tailored to their students and their fields of study.
COOPERMADE - THE 12-INCH CANVAS
Though vinyl records have gone the way of hand-cranked car windows and princess telephones, album covers provided a popular, widely distributed medium for designers to comment not only on the music at hand, but the culture that produced it. No wonder that alumni from The Cooper Union—a school that’s produced some of the most important graphic designers of the last century—had a direct hand in shaping the genre. In this edition of #COOPERMADE, we bring three of the many who made the most of a 12 x 12-inch canvas.
COOPERMADE - BEER!
Since 2016, Associate Professor Sam Keene, a member of Cooper’s electrical engineering faculty, has been offering a course called The Science and Art of Brewing. The class covers the history of brewing alongside recent brewing innovations and entrepreneurship. As for the technical aspects, students learn the fundamentals of water chemistry, sanitation, wort production and equipment, microbiology and yeast health, fermentation, the design of beer and the diagnosis of off-flavors. Though it might seem an unorthodox subject, the making of beer is not only an excellent medium for teaching the chemistry of fermentation, it also has ties to the school thanks to Peter Cooper’s father who briefly had a brewery in Peekskill, NY. In this issue, we consider the work of three alumni who have in one way or another been inspired by the brewing of beer. Cheers!
COOPERMADE Wangechi Mutu
1996 graduate of the School of Art Wangechi Mutu is the subject of a major solo exhibition at New York’s New Museum, Intertwined. The show, which opened this March and runs until June, takes up the entire museum and loosely follows a chronology of the artist’s career. On view are more than one hundred paintings, collages, drawings, and sculptures presenting a full breadth of her practice from the mid-1990s to today. Included are pieces from her time at The Cooper Union.
In a glowing review of the New Museum exhibition, art critic Roberta Smith noted that as accomplished an artist as she knew Mutu to be, seeing such a large body of her work in one place reveals the extraordinary inventiveness of the artist who works as a painter, video artist, and sculptor while using materials as diverse as soil from her native Kenya to bronze to tree limbs to fabric. Calling Mutu one of the most important artists of her generation, Smith said, “There doesn’t seem to be anything Mutu can’t manage.”
COOPERMADE Earth Month
Earth Month, a celebration created in 1970, grew out of a growing awareness of the ways industrialization inflicted great damage on our environment. Unfortunately, in these 50 years, the devastating impacts of climate change is a more pressing issue than ever before. Many Cooper alumni are dedicating their careers to finding ways to radically improve the environment while mitigating the harm already exacted.
COOPERMADE Notable Cooper Women
As one of the few schools that matriculated women since its inception, The Cooper Union has always understood the need for all people to have access to an education. In honor of Women's History Month, COOPERMADE again pays tribute to three of the many women who launched their stellar careers with a Cooper education in architecture, art and engineering:
COOPERMADE Notable Cooper Women
During Women’s History Month, COOPERMADE is featuring just a few of the extraordinary women who have attended The Cooper Union. We present three women who have made outsized contributions to the fields of architecture, engineering, and art:
COOPERMADE Founders and Presidents
In honor of Presidents’ Day, we present just a few of the many Cooper alumni who’ve held the position of founder or president—whether for their own business or for a professional organization.
Dr. Charles Fan EE’95, George Reeves ME’64 and Adah Bell Samuels Thoms made an outsized impact on our world.
With President Biden’s announcement of Gateway, a $292 million project to build an additional railroad tunnel under the Hudson River, COOPERMADE turns its attention to some of the many Cooper alumni who have designed, built, restored, and maintained transportation systems around the country.
Richard Sarles CE’67, Aviva Oppenheim ME’02, and Phillip Eng CE’83 made an outsized impact on the Transportation industry.
COOPERMADE Alex Katz: A Conversation with Paint
As one of the best known and prolific artists of his generation, Alex Katz has dedicated his oeuvre to intense observations of the everyday. By deploying bold colors and flattened figures and landscapes, his canvases demonstrate the power of visual perception.
A hallmark of Cooper's School of Art is its multidisciplinary pedagogy, which requires students to try many artistic methods and to eschew traditional majors. This results in our graduates entering a wide range of fields, including fashion - with some becoming household names.
COOPERMADE Seismic Research in Action
Many Cooper engineering alumni have dedicated their careers to creating necessary structures for transportation, water distribution, and energy delivery. These featured alumni have undertaken the important work of protecting those critical pieces of infrastructure from the hazards of earthquakes.
COOPERMADE Iconic Package Design
Cooper alumni have been behind some of the most iconic package designs of the past 50 years, including the bold orange wrapper of a Reese’s and the jolly mayhem of Wacky Packs. While some of their designs have been updated over the years—including Reese's and the Happy Meal box—their initial concepts still animate much of today's commercial landscape.
COOPERMADE Excellence in Athletics
Alumni from each of The Cooper Union’s three schools—architecture, art, and engineering—have made critical contributions to the planning, identity, and history of organizations dedicated to excellence in athletics: the Olympics, the Paralympics, and the Special Olympics.
COOPERMADE Museum & Exhibition Design
As a school dedicated to architecture, art, and engineering, it’s no surprise that numerous Cooper alumni have worked in different aspects of museum design. The three firms featured in this week’s #COOPERMADE have wide and varied practices. This story highlights their work for museums, work that merges the disciplines of a Cooper education.
COOPERMADE Infrastructure Reimagined
The firm Ballman Khapalova has developed an extraordinary plan to convert a NYC rotary into a multi-use park and community / arts center while keeping it a functioning roadway.
COOPERMADE Texts on Type
The Cooper Union has produced some of the world’s best known graphic designers and typographers. Not so surprising, then, that Cooper is also the alma mater of authors who’ve written highly influential texts on typography and type design.
From iconic movie posters to reimagined silent films to superheroes, we look at four of the many Cooper alumni who have had extraordinary careers related to cinema. Whether as directors, designers, or typographers, they have influenced how stories are told on film.
COOPERMADE Medical Arts
These alumni prove that a Cooper education can provide an extraordinary foundation for careers in medicine, whether as a physician, researcher, or inventor. From public health to cancer screening to personalized medicine to computer-assisted surgery, learn more about these #COOPERMADE medical arts!
Famed illustrator Edward Sorel A’51 reviews his storied career in his new book Profusely Illustrated. From Edward G. Robinson to George W. Bush, he has drawn them all!
COOPERMADE Holiday Fun
From iconic toys to the 5th Avenue holiday window displays, these Cooper alumni make the holidays bright!
COOPERMADE Jewelry Design
Jewelry designed by these Cooper alumni spans styles and eras, breaks boundaries of color and sexuality, and defines iconic moments both historic and contemporary. Learn more about these #COOPERMADE pieces that express, adorn, and inspire!
COOPERMADE Gadgets and Gizmos
Alumni of Peter Cooper's institute have followed in our founder's footsteps by creating countless inventions that we use every day. From escalators to wireless telephones, the revolutionary gadgets and gizmos that move society forward are #COOPERMADE!
COOPERMADE Architecture with Impact
Cooper’s architecture graduates learn not only how to design a structure, but also how to make it live in the environment and community around it. These alumni each found a space, whether physical or social, where their work would make a difference.
Whether staged or candid, great photography sheds light on the ordinary and extraordinary alike. It may condemn injustice, celebrate beauty, or point out the ridiculous. This week we consider just a few alumni who have made their mark in the art world as photographers of note. Join these alumni in seeing the world through a new lens.
COOPERMADE From the Theater to the Stage
From beloved musicals to iconic NYC theaters, Cooper alumni have contributed in big ways to the world of Broadway. As we look forward to a safe return to the art and music we love, we celebrate our graduates who make sure that "the sun will come out tomorrow."
COOPERMADE 9/11 Memorials and Monuments
Twenty years ago the events of 9/11 made an indelible impact on our country, and on the Cooper community. Today, and every day, we remember the Cooper alumni who lost their lives that day, and mourn the loss to our community.
Deborah Gittleman Kaplan CE’77
Eugen Lazar CE’96
Alumni including T.J. Gottesdiener AR’79, Julian LaVerdiere A’93, John Leeper AR'85, and Daniel Libeskind AR’70 contributed the skills they learned at Cooper and a wealth of professional experience and personal meaning to construct New York's memorials and monuments in remembrance of the lives lost that day.
COOPERMADE Seats at the Table
Whether engineering new flavors or creating new community spaces, these Cooper alumni offer you a seat at their table.
COOPERMADE Air and Space
After Cooper Union launched their careers, these alumni launched our imaginations to the stars and beyond.
COOPERMADE NYC Landmarks and Legends
From Central Park monuments to the High Line, our alumni have shaped the public spaces and aesthetics of New York for over a century thanks to the education they received at The Cooper Union.
COOPERMADE Kids Characters
From classic cartoons of the 30s and 40s to picture books we still read to our kids today, the characters of our imagination are #COOPERMADE!
COOPERMADE At Home
From the water in your tap to the internet in your home office, so many aspects of day-to-day life are #COOPERMADE!