The clean, simple metal frames that so often form the perfect complement to contemporary artworks were a radical innovation when they were first introduced in the 1950’s. Designed by artist, designer and framemaker Robert Kulicke (1924-2007), the frames were his solution to requests from his Abstract Expressionist artist-friends Robert Motherwell, Willem DeKooning, Barnett Newman and Franz Kline. The frame was inspired by the Barcelona chair, designed by Mies Van de Rohe. Kulicke said, “I came to realize that abstract painting needed a welded polished metal frame in order to be elegant enough for the large powerful art.” Kulicke also provided over 2,000 such frames to the Museum of Modern Art for use in traveling exhibitions, and their use radically transformed the aesthetic of framing employed at MOMA after their 1984 expansion.
Kulicke also later developed a Lucite frame for the photography department at MOMA; now referred to as the Plexibox frame. The Plexibox frame addressed the desire for both an unobtrusive frame and one that would guard against dust. Both the welded aluminum frames and the Plexibox frames offer an unadorned yet sophisticated framing treatment for art and photography.
Thank you to Suzanne Smeaton for writing this guest post.