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The Cooper Union Archives & Special Collections

Legacy of George Sadek

by Mary Mann on 2023-12-06T10:17:00-05:00 in Architecture, Archives, Art, Cooper Union | 0 Comments

George Sadek joined the faculty of The Cooper Union School of Art & Architecture in 1966, as head of the art department and professor of illustration and lettering. In 1968 he became Dean of the School, and helped shepherd its transition from one school into two: The School of Art and The School of Architecture. For nearly three decades, Sadek taught typography and book design, but his legacy at Cooper has largely been shaped by (a) his role in founding the Center for Design and Typography, which paired students with nonprofit institutions to work on actual projects in addition to serving most of the college's graphic needs, and (b) his leadership and advocacy for the Herb Lubalin Study Center—its archives still used by designers and artists on a global scale. 

George Sadek in front of "4x4"; The Cable 1970

Students today may or may not know who Sadek is, but they certainly know his work - Sadek's "4x4" hangs in the Foundation Building lobby, across from the library, from which vantage point it has witnessed countless ping-pong matches, bagel breakfasts, and students maneuvering artwork on and off the elevators.

Justin Suazo A'14 was so struck by his daily sight of Sadek's 4x4 that he designed a tote bag in tribute. The tote, in turn, was so popular that he's reissued it every five years since. Now, for a limited time, the 2024 series is available, with all proceeds after cost going to the library. 

Thank you, Justin! And thank you, George!

Interested in learning more? Search the Cooper Union Archives online. If you'd like to view particular materials in person, please reach out to us at 

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