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Twenty-five digitally printed volumes and assorted books in eight 15 in. black laminate cubes. 83 l x 49 h (210.8 x 124.4 cm). 2010. Edition of 2.

Donald M. Rattner received a B.A. in art history cum laude from Columbia in 1979 and an M.Arch. from Princeton in 1985. Three years later he joined Ferguson Murray Architects as an intern, and eventually rose to partnership there before founding Studio for Civil Architecture with Andrew Friedman in 2002. The firm opened an art studio in 2009 and now operates as Studio for A.R.T. and Architecture. Rattner’s portfolio has garnered over a dozen awards for design excellence in the course of his career and has been widely published. He has also published writings on a range of related topics and authors a blog on the subject of customizable art and design.

Rattner’s interest in modularity grew out of a 2001 architectural commission for the design of thirty identical modular structures at an historic resort in West Virginia. Since then he has explored the theory and practice of modular art and design in his own work as well as that of other creatives. Recognizing that there existed a large but disparate body of contemporary work in this field, he founded MODULE R to bring together outstanding examples of reconfigurable, interactive and modular art and design from around the globe.

Studio designed the first portfolio of modular art offered by the new venture, which was exhibited in Dumbo, Brooklyn in 2010. The firm was also featured in the 2010 Philagrafika art festival, its entry for a sculpture made from on-demand printed books having been a winner in the Philadelphia Athenaeum artist’s book competition. Two of its modular tapestries were exhibited the following year at the Verge Art Fair in Brooklyn.

Rattner’s work examines modular design within the context of what he has called the New Industrialism. He coined this term to denote the array of computer-driven design and fabrication methods, such as mass customization, modular design, co-creation, robotics, production on demand and open innovation that are changing the way things are made all over the globe. Rattner views this evolution as making a compelling case for revising the definitions of art and design as they have traditionally been conceived. Incorporating on-demand manufacturing, JENNY HOLZER asserts the viability of synthesizing human creativity with digital technology. Other works in the Studio portfolio include digitally printed canvases arrayed in multiples on a grid, a series of modular wall-mounted sculptures, and modular tapestries.