John Berg, A’53
John Berg A’83, was born in Brooklyn January 12, 1932. He attended Erasmus Hall High School. He drew cartoons for the school newspaper. He attended The Cooper Union School of Art where he graduated in 1953. After earning his degree, he worked for Doyle Dane Bernbach and Esquire.J ohn. John Berg was responsible for the design of many popular album covers while he served as the vice president of Art and Design at CBS Records. Berg joined Columbia Records in 1961 as art director of packaging, after working for Gray Advertising, Esquire Magazine, Horizon Magazine, and others.
During his 25 years at Columbia Records, he was responsible for more than 5,000 album covers, by musicians as diverse as Blood, Sweat & Tears; the Byrds; Lead Belly; Thelonious Monk; Simon and Garfunkel; Bessie Smith; Barbra Streisand; and George Szell. He became vice president of Art and Design at CBS in 1973 and remained in that position until 1985. A sample of the design work over which Berg presided includes the easily recognizable covers for the pop group Chicago, Walter Carlos’ Switched on Bach, Janis Joplin’s Cheap Thrills, and Jean Pierre Rampal’s Suite for Piano and Flute. He retired from Columbia Records with the title of vice president in 1985.
John Berg has won four Grammy Awards for best cover from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science and received three Gold Medals from the Art Directors Club of New York, three Gold Medals from the Society of Illustrators and over 350 certificates of merit from the Art Directors Club of New York, of Los Angeles and AIGA. Berg has had several one-man shows at AIGA, Commune di Ferrara and Galarie Delpire. He has lectured throughout the United States and teaches at the Parsons School of Design.
Mr. Berg’s work was displayed in a 2012-13 retrospective exhibit at Guild Hall in East Hampton, and chronicled in the book, 360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story (2012), by the historian Sean Wilentz.
John Berg received the 1985 CUAA Augustus Saint Gaudens Award and was inducted into The Cooper Union All of Fame in 2009.