Jack Werner Stauffacher, print from Wooden Letters from 300 Broadway, 1998, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of the 2012 Decorative Arts and Design Acquisition Committee (DA2)

For the Love of Type

February 4, 2013
Staci Steinberger, Curatorial Assistant, Decorative Arts and Design

This past Sunday, we opened Jack Stauffacher: Typographic Experiments. In 1966, San Francisco printer Jack Stauffacher reopened The Greenwood Press, the imprint he had founded as a teenager, and moved his workshop to what was known as “The Printer’s Building” at 300 Broadway.  Shortly after moving, he received a gift of 66 pieces of late 19th-century wooden type from The Williams Printing Company, a recently shuttered commercial poster business that had operated downstairs. Since then, Stauffacher has employed the wooden letters in a series of what he calls “typographic meditations,” arranging the familiar forms into unexpected configurations to create bold, abstract images. In the video interview below, he reflects on his experiments and on the inherent appeal of the letters, whose richly textured surfaces show evidence of their history. You can see his prints and books at LACMA in Jack Stauffacher: Typographic Experiments, which opens in the Art of the Americas building on February 2.

Video by Alexa Oona Schulz