When the Nazis shut down the Bauhaus school in 1933 and prompted a mass exodus of its staff members to other countries, America gained one of its foremost instructors, Josef Albers. After his emigration the modernist artist and designer had a profound influence on the theory and practice of art and design—through his influential book Interaction of Color, but also in his classes at Black Mountain College, where he was the head of the art department, and Yale University, where he oversaw the department of design through an overhaul in curriculum in favor of rigorous exercises and an emphasis on detail.
Albers instructed students until he left academia to pursue his own work in 1958, but his influence continues to resonate with younger generations. Nitzan Hermon, the founder and creative director of the communication and technology studio VVVVVV, counts himself as one of these younger followers. It was Hermon who conceived and realized the upcoming visual and art exhibition Albers in Command, an experience that highlights Albers’ work on Bauhausian precisionist album covers and the cool ’60s lounge music they were designed to encase.
The project came about when Hermon discovered a set of rare album sleeves that Albers designed for Command Records and became fascinated with how the artist's minimalist abstract geometric aesthetic dovetailed with the style of the music. The covers represent a collaboration between Albers and the record label’s co-founders Enoch Light and George Schwager, a nexus of design and audio that resonated with Hermon, who realized that there was a narrative worth exploring. Hermon also recognized that this kind of work was rare for Albers: To his knowledge, this is the only commercial art Albers produced in his lifetime aside from a cover for the book accompanying MoMA’s 1934 exhibit “Machine Art."