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Explore the history of trade signs at 21st annual Kreines Lecture at Cincinnati Art Museum

3/8/2017 12:00:00 AM

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CINCINNATI— Are bright, neon signs examples of crass consumerism or serious forms of visual communication? Join Martin Treu, author of Signs, Streets, and Storefronts: A History of Architecture and Graphics along America’s Commercial Corridors, at the 21st annual Kreines Lecture at the Cincinnati Art Museum presented by Mrs. Barbara Kreines and the Decorative Arts Society of Cincinnati in memory of Dr. Kenneth Kreines on Sunday, March 12 at 2 p.m. Reception to follow.

Treu’s presentation will trace the history of the American trade sign from the late 18th century to the present day. For more than two decades, Treu has travelled around the world studying places that serve the living, working and recreational needs of residents and visitors alike. He will discuss his book’s examination of signs and their environments. 

“As an environmental graphic designer and an architect, this is a book I’ve wanted to see for a very long time,” says Treu. “It examines not only how sign design has evolved over the years, but studies the ever-changing relationship between graphics and architectural design. 

The Kreines Lecture on Decorative Arts features nationally and internationally recognized scholars and has a different theme each year, tied to the interests of the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Decorative Arts Society. This year’s theme ties to the folk art in the museum’s permanent collection which includes historical trade signs and the museum’s upcoming exhibition, A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America that runs June 10–September 3.

“The Kreineses love folk art and Americana. The idea of having someone speak about the history of trade signs resonated with Dr. Kreines,” said Amy Dehan, Curator of Decorative Arts and Design.

Dr. Kreines passed away this year on January 18. The Kreineses founded the Decorative Arts Society and have actively supported and mentored the group from the beginning. They were also integral members in the planning and construction of the Cincinnati Wing. He served as a Cincinnati Art Museum Board Member from 1997-2006, as a Trustee Emeritus since 2010, and as a Shareholder since 1995.

“Dr. Kreines was very interested in connecting the ideas of design and art and truly expanding people’s minds on these subjects,” said Russell Ihrig, Assistant Director of Interpretive Programming.

Since the Art Museum’s Fath Auditorium only holds close to 300, reservations are required. Call (513) 721-ARTS (2787) or visit to reserve your spot.


About the Cincinnati Art Museum

The Cincinnati Art Museum is supported by the generosity of individuals and businesses that give annually to ArtsWave. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Cincinnati Art Museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Cincinnati Art Museum gratefully acknowledges operating support from the City of Cincinnati, as well as our members.

General admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is always free. The museum is open Tuesday–Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. with extended Thursday hours until 8 p.m.