Why Did They Tear Down That Wall?

Gastrotypographicalassemblage, Lou Dorfsman, mid-1960s

When I was in high school, I was asked to design a mural for the cafeteria wall. Of course, I had no idea how to do that and ended up making a 1970s supergraphic of a series of fat horizontal stripes and an abstraction of a seagull flying above. There are small miracles; nobody documented it. The next year was my first year at art school, and I discovered the Gastrotypographicalassemblage. This was Lou Dorfsman’s version of my high school cafeteria mural, minus the Airport ’77 supergraphics. The wall is a wonderful collection of 3-dimensional letterforms created by Lou Dorfsman, Tom Carnase, and Herb Lubalin in the mid-1960s for CBS. The result is a wood-type shop exploding next to supermarket. Sadly, the wall was demoslished in the 1980s and now sits in storage, awaiting rescue. I can only hope that my wall was painted over by another artist in residence after I left high school.

Gastrotypographicalassemblage, Lou Dorfsman

Gastrotypographicalassemblage, Lou Dorfsman

Gastrotypographicalassemblage, Lou Dorfsman

Gastrotypographicalassemblage, Lou Dorfsman

Gastrotypographicalassemblage, Lou Dorfsman

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6 Responses to “Why Did They Tear Down That Wall?”

  1. Joe Says:

    why DID they tear down that wall? Gosh if something so beautiful is sitting in storage they should donate it to the MOMA or the Cooper Hewitt… for all of us to enjoy! God forbid it’s sitting in some old ratty boxes in a basement somewhere like the AIGA Design Archives used to!

  2. Sean Says:

    They tore it down because they were mean.

  3. Tony Says:

    I don’t get the chance to say this very often: that’s a really nice wall.

  4. Kate Grey Says:

    You went to Reno High, right? My daughter’s a senior — I can go check it out for you. But I bet it’s gone. Wait a minute … maybe not. I’m getting distinct visions of some of those musty stairwells from Parent-Teacher Night. It could still be there!

    I grew up in San Francisco in the ’70s, and for some reason the he Gastrotypographicalassemblage reminds me of some of the retail establishments of the time. Taylor & Ng. Takahashi. Some of the cool shops in Ghiradelli Square.

  5. JR Says:

    All is not lost! The Center For Design Study in Atlanta is working to restore and preserve Dorfsman’s wall.

    Visit here for more information, and I encourage you to donate as I understand it is a herculean task to restore this beautiful piece:


    (I’m not affiliated with The Center For Design Study, but value what they’re doing…)

  6. Sean Says:

    Please, please, please