See more objects with the color sienna darkslategrey or see all the colors for this object.

Object Timeline


  • Work on this object began.


  • We acquired this object.




  • You found it!

Poster, Unfinished Modern, 1984

This is a poster. It was designed by Michael Bierut. It is dated 1984 and we acquired it in 1996. Its medium is screenprint on paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

In April of 1984, when postmodernism was becoming an established movement in popular discourse, the Architecture League of New York organized two lectures debating the future of architecture. The two-part series delivered by Arthur Drexler, the director of the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art at the time, disagreed with the widely held sentiment that modernism was dead. He instead saw it as a period “that ...merit[ed] investigation and analysis.” This poster designed by Michael Bierut and Massimo Vignelli announced the talks —“The Devaluation of Architecture” and “Architecture in the Millenium” were the official titles— and uses typography to visualize the breakdown of a traditional, rational modernism. Solid white bars create the letters and progressively become thinner, suggesting what the title of the piece itself alludes to: unfinished modern. Bierut spent the first decade of his career working for the late and legendary designer Massimo Vingnelli before becoming a partner at the prominent graphic design studio Pentagram, a position he continues to hold today.

This object was donated by Michael Bierut. It is credited Gift of Michael Bierut.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 50.7 x 50.7 cm (19 15/16 x 19 15/16 in.)

It is inscribed

Printed in orange ink, lower center margin: Design: Vignelli & Bierut

Cite this object as

Poster, Unfinished Modern, 1984; Designed by Michael Bierut (American, b. 1957); USA; screenprint on paper; H x W: 50.7 x 50.7 cm (19 15/16 x 19 15/16 in.); Gift of Michael Bierut; 1996-86-1

This object may be subject to Copyright or other restrictions.

You are welcome to make fair use of this image under U.S. Copyright law and in compliance with our terms of use. Please note that you are responsible for determining whether your use is fair and for responding to any claims that may arise from your use.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Poster, Unfinished Modern, 1984 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=19 June 2018 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

If you would like to tell us more about an object or have found an error in an object record, please let us know!