September 15, 2021
Part of the 50WomenAtYale150, this exhibition highlights works by women who graduated from the Graphic Design program at Yale School of Art. Like all the school’s programs, Graphic Design—the first graduate program in graphic design in the United States—has been coeducational since its founding, which took place in 1951 under Alvin Eisenman (1921–2013). The program, with its focus on problem solving and communication, is known for its ethos of innovation and its feminist legacy—a legacy that has only increased since 1990, when Sheila Levrant de Bretteville (born 1940; MFA 1964) became the program’s second director and the first tenured female faculty member at the Yale School of Art.
Lux et Femina represents seventy years of Yale’s Graphic Design program and includes the work of twenty remarkable designers. It pairs their thesis books, a core requirement for the MFA degree, with samples of postgraduate projects for corporate, government, and cultural-sector clients as well as projects reflecting a strong involvement in art and activism. The professional projects often reveal interconnected themes and strategies whose origins are rooted in the designers’ innovative student work. The phrase “Lux et Femina,” a play on Yale’s motto, “Lux et Veritas,” was coined at the start of the 150th anniversary celebrations, which began in 2019 and continue with this exhibition and the Yale University Art Gallery’s concurrent On the Basis of Art: 150 Years of Women at Yale.