Josef Albers (1888–1976) was part of the select group of artists who were commissioned in the 1960s to create original works to beautify RIT’s “new” Henrietta campus, which opened in 1968. These art pieces were diverse, including metal sculptures situated along walkways, abstract tapestries swathed on walls, and ceramic tableau that interrupted the rectilinear Brutalist modern architecture. Albers’ two contributions to this RIT campus art collection are so integrated into the specificity of each site, that his artworks are often overlooked by people passing by. They are the patterned brick Loggia Wall mural on the north façade of Thomas Gosnell Hall, and the massive square murals entitled Growth and Youth in the lobby of George Eastman Hall. After decades of quiet witness, these pieces have endured to be among the most monumental of Albers’ career.
Albers came to the RIT commission with the highest credentials: a master painter, former professor at the avant garde Bauhaus school in Germany, professor emeritus from Yale University, and acclaimed author of The Interaction of Color. His RIT murals are the summation of his experiences as a mature artist. This exhibition celebrates the artworks’ 50th anniversary by narrating their history amidst the backdrop of Albers’ stimulating artistic work in color theory. Artifacts from the RIT Archives will be complemented by Albers' colorful prints, held in the Cary Graphic Arts Collection.