Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster

Co-edited with Jessica Lacher-Feldman and William M. Valenti, M.D.

This 232-page book complemented the exhibition Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster, which was presented at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York. The book featured scholarly essays and a portfolio of nearly 150 examples of visually arresting and socially meaningful posters. Some of these posters were accompanied by commentary written by an international roster of designers, activists, researchers, policymakers, and social scientists, among others.

The posters, spanning the years from 1982 to the present, showed how social, religious, civic, and public health agencies have addressed the controversial, often contested terrain of the HIV/AIDS pandemic within the public realm. Organizations and creators tailored their messages to audiences, both broad and very specific, and used a wide array of strategies, employing humor, emotion, scare tactics, simple scientific explanations, sexual imagery, and many other methods to communicate powerfully and effectively.

>See exhibition

Editors: Donald Albrecht, Jessica Lacher-Feldman, and William M. Valenti, M.D.
Designer: Marnie Soom/RIT Press
Publisher: RIT Press

Bob Crewe: Sight and Sound, Compositions in Art and Music

This book was the first publication to explore both the extraordinary musical life and the remarkable paintings and sculptures of one of America’s greatest-ever songwriters. Best known for having written and produced some of the seminal records of midcentury popular culture, from “Big Girls Don’t Cry” for the Four Seasons to “Lady Marmalade” for LaBelle, Bob Crewe was a multifaceted artist for whom a passion for painting and the visual arts provided a lifelong counterbalance to music. Mr. Albrecht’s introductory essay tied together the many complementary facets of Crewe’s personal and creative lives, including his queer sexuality and complex relationship to the era’s gay culture.

Articles in Variety and ARTDAILY.COM

Editor: Jacob Lehman

Cool Is Everywhere

This book was a photographic survey of adaptive reuse design in 14 mid-sized American cities that have experienced dramatic revivals, including Richmond, Virginia; Oakland, California; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. Albrecht’s introduction explored how the vibrancy of today’s smaller cities rests not only on broad cultural and economic factors, but also on three particular features: the preservation of historic buildings and places; the reclamation of degraded landscapes; and the fostering of small-sale industries described by hip city-dwellers as “maker culture.”

Photographer: Michel Arnaud
Writers: Michel Arnaud with Jane Creech
Designer: Danielle Youngsmith

Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs

Co-edited and written with Sean Corcoran

This 328-page book accompanied the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibition Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs. Chronicling the five years, from 1945 through 1950, when the future filmmaker worked at the pictorial magazine Look, the book brought together some 300 images by Kubrick, as well as rare Look magazine tear sheets. In his photographs, many unpublished, Kubrick trained his camera on his native city, drawing inspiration from the nightclubs, street scenes, and sporting events that made up his first assignments, and capturing the pathos of ordinary life with a sophistication that belied his young age. Co-editors Donald Albrecht and Sean Corcoran wrote an introductory essay, which traced the trajectory of Kubrick’s career at the magazine, and descriptions of Kubrick’s key assignments there. Noted photography critic Luc Sante contributed an essay that situated Kubrick within the contexts of postwar New York and other New York City photographers.

>See exhibition

Designer: Pure+Applied
Publishers: Museum of the City of New York and TASCHEN

Mexico Modern: Art, Commerce, and Cultural Exchange

Co-edited and written with Thomas Mellins

This 176-page book accompanied the exhibition Mexico Modern, which explored two decades of dynamic cultural exchange between Mexico and the United States. Telling the rich story of the “Mexican moment” of the 1920s and 1930s, the book featured 200 illustrations and was organized in three parts. An introductory essay by University of Texas associate professor George F. Flaherty traced the connection between art and politics within the context of the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath. The editors’ essay explored how the Mexican moment was orchestrated in the United States, specifically as it played out in three cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. The third part of the book, also written by the editors, provided brief biographical texts and representative images devoted to 32 artists, designers and promoters who were key to the story. Taken together, the goal of both this book and the companion exhibition was to underscore the critical role played by personal and institutional networks—spanning two nations—in the creation of art, art audiences, art markets, and ultimately, art history

>See exhibition

Editors and primary authors: Donald Albrecht and Thomas Mellins
Designer: WIGEL, Munich
Publishers: Harry Ransom Center/University of Texas at Austin, Hirmer, and the Museum of the City of New York

Mod New York

Published to coincide with the Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip exhibition, this 164-page book traced the arc of 1960s and early 1970s fashion with 200 illustrations of historically significant designs by Halston, Geoffrey Beene, Rudi Gernreich, Yves Saint Laurent, André Courrèges, Norman Norell, and Bill Blass, among many others. Authoritative essays by well-known fashion historians Phyllis Magidson, Hazel Clark, Sarah Gordon, and Caroline Rennolds Milbank explored the ways in which fashion expressed radical movements from feminism to Afro-centrism as well as new trends in retailing. Of special note was Kwame S. Brathwaite’s essay on the Grandassa Models and “Black is Beautiful” movement, which was illustrated with photographs by his father, Kwame Brathwaite.

>See exhibition

Editors: Donald Albrecht and Phyllis Magidson
Designer: Yve Ludwig
Publishers: Museum of the City of New York and The Monacelli Press

Gay Gotham

Written by Donald Albrecht with Stephen Vider

This 304-page book accompanied the exhibition of the same name and uncovered the lost history of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender artists in New York City. The book underscored that queer people have always flocked to New York seeking freedom, forging close-knit groups for support and inspiration. Gay Gotham brought to life the countercultural artistic communities that sprang up over the last hundred years, a creative class whose radical ideas would determine much of modern culture. Almost 400 images—both works of art, such as paintings and photographs, as well as letters, snapshots, and ephemera—illuminated their personal and professional bonds. By peeling back the overlapping layers of this cultural network that thrived despite its illicitness, this publication revealed a whole new side of the history of New York and celebrated the power of artistic collaboration to transcend oppression.

Gay Gotham was a 2016 Lambda Literary Award finalist for LGBTQ nonfiction.

>See exhibition

Chosen by the New York Times as a 2016 holiday book selection: “With a title that just about says it all…it is awash in photographs while encompassing a great deal of the cultural contributions of New York City’s nonstraight denizens.” Roberta Smith, New York Times, November 24, 2016

Authors: Donald Albrecht with Stephen Vider
Designer: Pure+Applied
Publisher: Skira Rizzoli

Saving Place

Co-edited with Andrew Dolkart in association with Seri Worden

This 208-page book accompanied the exhibition of the same name and was published in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the passage of New York’s pioneering Landmarks Law, enacted in April 1965. That law was a key factor in the rebirth of New York in the final quarter of the 20th century. It fostered pride in neighborhoods and resulted in neighborhood preservation in every borough, connecting and motivating residents and bringing new economic life to older communities. It ensured that huge swaths of the city remain a rich complex of new and old. It also ensured the creative re-use of countless buildings. At the same time, a new body of important architecture has emerged as architects, clients, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission devised innovative solutions for the renovation of landmark buildings and for new buildings in historic districts. The law spawned creativity in architects’ responses to building preservation that has enhanced the cityscape in all five boroughs. The book featured specially commissioned photographs of city landmarks by Iwan Baan.

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Co-editors: Andrew Dolkart and Seri Worden
Publisher: The Monacelli Press
Managing Editor: Elizabeth White
Principal photography by Iwan Baan
Designer: Pentagram

Designing Home

This book accompanied the exhibition of the same name that looked at the contribution of Jewish designers, architects, patrons, and merchants in the creation of a distinctly modern American domestic landscape. In the aftermath of World War II, the hub of world Jewry shifted from Europe to America. The exhibition examined the cultural context in which many Jewish émigré architects and designers from Europe in the 1930–40s were welcomed and embraced into the creative communities that sprang up around the US—including Black Mountain College, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, and even in the Bay Area at Pond Farm in Guerneville. The story told in this exhibition gave remarkable insight into Jewish assimilation into American society. At the same time, Designing Home went beyond a simple exploration of physical Jewish contributions to the history of modern architecture and design—an impact that continues today—to examine broader cultural and social themes.

Mr. Albrecht developed the idea of the show, selected all artifacts, wrote exhibition text, assembled the design team, and wrote the catalog’s primary essay.

>See exhibition

Publisher: The Contemporary Jewish Museum
Managing Editor: Elizabeth Hamilton
Contributing Editor: Lily Siegel
Photo Coordinator: Ella Levitt
Catalog Designers: Pure+Applied, New York
(Urshula Barbour, Paul Carlos, and Carrie Kawamura)

Gilded New York

Gilded New York: Design, Fashion, and Society accompanied the exhibition of the same name, exploring the city’s visual culture at the end of the 19th century, when its elite class flaunted their money as never before. In New York, this era was marked by the sudden rise of industrial and corporate wealth, amassed by such titans as Cornelius Vanderbilt and Jay Gould, who expressed their high status through extravagant fashions, architecture, and interior design. The exhibition presented a lavish display of some 100 works, including costumes, jewelry, portraits, and decorative objects, all created between the mid-1870s and the early 20th century. The dazzling works in the exhibition illuminated an era when members of the new American aristocracy often displayed their wealth in storied balls in Fifth Avenue mansions and hotels. It was a time when New York became the nation’s corporate headquarters and a popular Ladies’ Mile of luxury retail establishments and cultural institutions helped launch the city to global prominence.

>See exhibition


“Through jeweled tiaras and gold Ascot pins, family portraits gleaming with trompe l’oeil satin, and photos of the homes of the nouveau riche, the authors illustrate the transformations wrought by manna storms of wealth, the social mobility they encouraged and the cultural institutions they fostered, many of which continue to be cherished.”
Julie Lasky, New York Times Gift Guide
Christmas 2013

Designer: Tsang Seymour
Publisher: Monacelli Press