The Classy Order
Project by Ania Jaworska in collaboration with Zack Ostrowski
Ancient Greek architecture, divided into three orders—Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian—explored the column as a simultaneously structural and decorative element. The classical forms of the columns persisted and are continuously reused in Western architecture, making them the most recognizable and familiar symbols, deeply embedded in our memory.
As a graphic icon, an image of a column performs as an equalizer of taste. A cliché symbol that is at once tired and bankrupt and culturally loaded. As a logo, it’s hired itself out to both the highest and lowest bidder, and serves everyone from world-class universities to small-town construction companies. It performs with conviction, representing reputable national law firms, and offers a sense of legitimacy to the local shiesty attorney. It’s generic, and floods stock image websites appearing with the ubiquitous “your text here.” It’s inclusive, always available, and as a result unpredictable in its allegiance, partnering equally with dentists, restaurants, and furniture warehouses. It’s this inconsistency and overuse that gives it (fluid) character, but despite its promiscuous tendencies, the message it sends is almost always the same—trust, stability, reliability, and class.
Quotes taken from the websites of the companies. Above images and logos of the companies are appropriated for the purposes of critique and commentary.
Ania Jaworska is an architect and educator. She currently is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Architecture. Her practice focuses on exploring the connection between art and architecture and her work explores bold simple forms, humor, commentary and conceptual, historic, and cultural references. Jaworska’s work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions, notably at the 2010 Venice Biennale, 2015 and 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chicago Cultural Center, MOMA, Storefront for Art and Architecture, Volume, and Chamber and Friedman Benda Galleries. She recently had the solo exhibition Chicago Works: Ania Jaworska at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and SET at Volume Gallery in Chicago. She has designed a bookstore at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts in Chicago and the Entrance Pavilion for the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial: Make New History. She is a 2017 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program Finalist.
Zack Ostrowski (BEVERLY FRESH) is an artist, designer, and musician who has exhibited and performed throughout the US and internationally, including China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, Peru, Poland, and Ukraine. He is the co-founder of sUPERIORbelly (1999), an art collective and record label based in Detroit, co-founder of WILD AMERICAN DOGS (2013), an interdisciplinary art duo producing experimental films and performances, and cofounder of the Archive of Midwestern Culture (2016), an organization committed to documenting creative life in the rural Midwest. In 2009 he received the Daimler AG Emerging Artist Award from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. He is an Associate Professor and Area Head of Graphic Art at DePaul University, Chicago.