Accession Number


Paul Rand

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
silkscreen on paper

38 in x 26 in (96.52 cm x 66.04 cm);36 ¼ in x 24 ¼ in (92.07 cm x 61.6 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo and Maria Phillips

Subject matter
Direction Magazine was an avant garde arts and culture periodical Paul Rand designed for from 1939 through 1943. The magazine did not have a lot of money, so Rand was not paid for his work and, thus, had to resort to cheaper alternatives for his designs. For example, many of the covers employed handwriting and collage rather than type. This particular poster presents the full image of a dancer in the upper left hand corner, and enlarges and fragments the same image across the surface of the poster. Overall, the the fragments compose theform the dancer, but the fragments also seem dissociated from each other because they are not physically attached. Furthermore, Rand cut each fragment into various shapes and symbols; thus, adding another layer of meaning to the isolated forms. For example, the torso is cut into the shape of a heart and the head into the shape of a lightbulb. The torso contains the heart, but the added symbolism of the heart associates the torso with love and openness. Not only is the lightbulb a similar shape to the human head, but also both are associated with innovation and intelligence. A dancer is representative of movement and physical prowess, so the association of the dancer’s body parts with certain character attributes suggests an identity beyond the performance the viewer sees.

EC 2017

Physical Description
A black and white image of a dancer appears against a red background in the upper left; fragments of that dancer appear enlarged in other areas of the poster.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
fragments (object portions)
graphic design

4 Related Resources

Ann Arbor Public School: Art Teacher Professional Development 
(Part of: UMMA Teacher Workshop Resources)
Ann Arbor STEAM middle school tour 11-8-18
(Part of: Ann Arbor STEAM School Graphic Design Tour 11-8-18)
Graphic and composition
(Part of: Design)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved