Lanier Graham Chess Set

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Designed by modern art expert (and chess aficionado) Lanier Graham before joining the ranks of MoMA's Department of Architecture and Design in 1966, this game elevates a traditional chess set into a modern wonder.

Medieval imagery goes minimal with high-concept design: the shape of each piece mirrors its function. Knights show smooth L shapes, Bishops slope diagonally and Rooks stand as rectangles (for the way they move on the board).

Pieces whittle down the rank in scale to show power and relative importance. All 32 figures interlock neatly into a rectangular, puzzle formation to heighten the concept of simplicity and reason.

In his early curatorial days at New York's Museum of Modern Art, gallery director and Art History academic Lanier Graham frequently played chess with surrealist Marcel Duchamp. Graham went on to exhibit Duchamp's artwork in several retrospectives, continuing to curate, research and publish academic literature on modern art, in the process. His shared passion for chess compelled Graham to dedicate his book, CHESS, to the avant-garde Duchamp the year he died (1968).

Grahamis illustrious academic and curatorial career in art has taken him to the University of California, Berkley, the California Institute of Asian Studies, San Francisco, the Naropa Institute, Boulder, and Humboldt State University, Arcata. Currently the Director of the University Art Gallery at California State University, East Bay, Graham focuses rotating collections on unexplored topics in contemporary, world and modern art. Past exhibitions have included themes like "Shamanic Power Objects," "Andy Warhol & Social Consciousness" and "Tibetan Thangkas from the Shakyas."


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