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Stephanie Murg

In Which the Smithsonian Is Yarn-Bombed

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If you’re spending this Labor Day weekend in our nation’s capital, stop by the Smithsonian Castle, which, along with the surrounding gardens, is presently ensnared in a thicket—approximately six miles worth—of cherry red yarn. The yarn bombing, revealed today (after two weeks of work by some 120 volunteers) and up through Tuesday morning, is a crafty way to draw attention to the Chiharu Shiota exhibition that opens tomorrow at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. The Japanese artist has used 350 donated shoes and four miles of the same shade of red yarn used in the yarn bomb to create an installation that amasses personal memories of lost individuals and past moments. “The threads are woven together,” Shiota has said. “They become entangled. They tear. They unravel. They are a mirror of the emotions.” As for the fate of the post-bomb yarn, the Freer|Sackler is open to ideas: tweet your idea(s) to @FreerSackler or post the museum’s Facebook page.

Quote of Note | Bruce Sterling

OMNI_CVRS.indd“Genuine science-fiction art performs a social function for a tight-knit, ninety-year-old community. It exists to enable its viewers to achieve and maintain their highly valued otherworldly state of let’s pretend. Sci-fi art is a form of realist genre painting, like aviation art, like natural-history painting. Its cousins are comics and game design and set design, disciplines that prefer certain conventions to be respected: Comics fans require the canon, gamers like to enter the game world and play, theatergoers need set design as the backdrop of performance. Art that is too heavily freighted breaks the suspension of disbelief and leaves the sci-fi fan with the awkward realization that Martians have better taste than he does. [Omni publisher Bob] Guccione‘s effort to class-up sci-fi art was like trying to break-dance in a Vegas tuxedo, but he never saw the solecism there. Although he had a few veteran sci-fi illustrators within his mag—Michael Whelan, Frank Fazetta, Tim White, and glitzy-robot maestro Hajime Sorayama—it’s clear that these accomplished sci-fi professionals caught Guccione’s roving eye almost by accident.”

-Bruce Sterling on The Mind’s Eye: The Art of Omni (powerHouse Books) in the September issue of Artforum

Anonymous Tips: Because Sharing Is Caring

who could it be now.jpgIf we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times: “I could tell you this Big Design News, but then I’d have to kill you.” Now you can give us the scoop and skip the messy murder plot, thanks to our “Anonymous Tips” box, which the Mediabistro tech wizards have placed at the top right of this page. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Type in your news—design happenings, gossip, movements of the Revolving Door, a designer’s hidden talent, or any newsy, design-y morsel—and click “send.” We’ll get the news, you’ll retain your air of mystery.

InStyle’s Rina Stone on Brand Evolution, Collaborations, and the September Mega-Issue

rina stoneThe latest Julia Roberts-fronted issue of InStyle is more than a fall fashion blockbuster—it’s also a celebration of the Time Inc. magazine-cum-brand’s twentieth anniversary. The 700+ page-September book is brimming with retrospective morsels along with expanded takes on signature features that strike the signature InStyle balance of inspirational and attainable. We recently sat down with creative director Rina Stone to discuss her (extensive) responsibilities, the evolving InStyle brand, and the making of the mega-issue. Snagging Roberts for the cover was “a real coup,” Stone told us. “Ariel [Foxman, InStyle editor-in-chief] felt there was no one better to celebrate our 20th anniversary. She’s such an InStyle girl. Putting that shoot together, we wanted to do a fashion story—obviously, because it’s the September issue—but we also wanted to make sure that we left with something that was iconic and memorable—some pictures that would last forever. She loved the concept, and she has such personality. I think some of these portraits, you can put them in a time capsule, take them out in 20 years, and they’ll still be relevant.”

Read the full interview on FishbowlNY: So What Do You Do, Rina Stone, Creative Director at InStyle?

Last Chance: Write a Haiku, Win a Pass to the Hopscotch Design Festival

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Time is running out to be tersely poetic and craft the haiku that will win you a free pass to the Hopscotch Design Festival, which runs September 3-4 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The designtastic new companion to the Hopscotch Music Festival boasts a speaker line-up that includes OMA’s Shohei Shigematsu, Kai-Uwe Bergmann of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Casey Caplowe of GOOD, Alexander Isley, and other inspiring figures in the worlds of graphic design, user experience design, urban planning, technology, architecture, and more.

To be eligible to win one of the two run-of-the-festival passes ($150 each) that we’re giving away thanks to Moo.com, write a haiku—we’ll take the standard five-seven-five syllables—about the Hopscotch Design Festival presenter or session you’re most interested in seeing. E-mail your minimalist poem to unbeige@mediabistro.com with the subject “HOPSCOTCH” by 10 p.m. EST tonight (Wednesday, August 27th). Winners will be notified within 24 hours.

Watch: Casey Neistat Takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

In the wake of the global phenomenon of humans dousing themselves in ice water and donating to fight ALS, there are surely scores of people—those representing other charitable causes—bathed in envy and regret: Why didn’t we think of that, Jim? I told you we should have hired that weird intern with all the Instagram followers! Let’s figure out our own thing that involves buckets…what rhymes with “bucket”? Casey Neistat to the rescue. The intrepid filmmaker, who we last saw doling out advice for traveling avec skateboard, has created this expansive take on the ice bucket challenge, somehow managing to cordon off a Tribeca block to do so.

Twitter Along with UnBeige

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Famed literary critic Lionel Trilling once described Henry James as a “social twitterer.” Sure, he meant it as an insult, but it makes us feel better about having joined the tweeting masses. Look to the UnBeige Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute newsbites, event snippets, links of interest, design trivia, and our exclusive photo of Rem Koolhaas in mid-ponder—it makes for smashing smartphone wallpaper.

Fashion Television’s Jeanne Beker Turns Curator for ‘Politics of Fashion’ Exhibition

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Backstage at Maison Martin Margiela’s fall 2012 haute couture show. (Photo: Tyrone Lebon)

If you know fashion, you know Fashion Television. Hosted by the indefatigable Jeanne Beker, the Toronto-based fashion news show ceased production in 2012 after 27 seasons of designer interviews and from-the-collections reports. (In many American markets, it aired before or after its Canadian counterpart, Fashion File, prompting viewers to wonder why stateside networks jettisoned the newsy angle on fashion after the CNN run of Elsa Klensch.) Beker is now making her curatorial debut with “Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics,” an exhibition that opens September 18 at Design Exchange in Toronto.

The Canadian design museum will showcase more than 200 works that reveal fashion as a powerful tool of expression, including the (relatively) scandalous non-gown worn by Margaret Trudeau to the White House in 1977, a gold leopard print burqa from Jeremy Scott‘s spring 2013 “Arab Spring” collection, and an artisanal leather poncho from the fall 2013 Maison Martin Margiela collection. Fashion designer Jeremy Laing is masterminding the exhibition design, while Design Exchange curator Sara Nickleson worked with Beker on organizing the show. The bold and often subversive pieces, which span from the 1960s (a star-spangled Bobby Kennedy-for-president paper dress) to today (an androgynous Rad Hourani jacket) are organized around five themes: Ethics/Activism, War/Peace, Consumption/Consumerism, Campaign/Power Dressing, and Gender/Sexuality.

Seven Questions for Karim Rashid

Karim RashidIt’s been a busy, brightly colored, organic-shaped summer for Karim Rashid. The designer has given lectures, made appearances, and occasionally DJ’ed in cities from Miami and Toronto to Hamburg and Ekaterinburg (Russia’s fourth-largest city). On Friday he could be found in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he keynoted the Construye & Remodela confab. Not that there’s any shortage of stateside projects: Rashid was recently commissioned to design three Manhattan residential buildings, including a mixed-use project (20 apartments, with office and commercial space at the street level) located at 1633-1655 Madison Avenue. The concept is a continuation of Rashid’s signature boundary-pushing, rooted in a desire to “bring a fulgent vibrancy to the environment and move away the trends away from tired archetypes and cold minimalism.” He made time between groundbreakings, prototyping sessions, and DJ sets to answer our seven questions.

You recently lectured—and DJed—in Ekaterinburg, Russia. What is your impression of the state of design in Russia?
I have been to Russia 25 times and always love the country, the energy, the people, the intellectual spirit, the food, the sensibilities. In regards the state of design I have seen things change drastically since 14 years ago, but the problem is that Russia has not embraced the design phenomena enough, yet it is getting better and better. The condition is changing. In order to know Russian designers internationally they either work and develop brands in Russia—that become globally established—or work for foreign companies. And in all those trips very few Russian companies approach me to design for them.

Russia with all its diversified money, increasing incomes, intelligence, education, and manufacturing capability, lacks globally recognized brands. I always thought how fascinating it is that a country like Sweden has international brands like IKEA, H&M, Absolut, Volvo, and Voss with only a population of 7 million. Because of the size of Russia, companies were producing goods exclusively for their huge market and taking no impetus to export. Russia has the manpower and money to create major global brands. But times have changed and the doors to the West are open. I would love to see Russia build some very contemporary brands that contribute to our beautiful global consumer landscape.

I just completed the new OK.RU website [a popular Russian social media platform], and I am working on a shopping mall in St. Petersburg, an orange juice bottle, a cognac bottle, a tractor, and other projects in Russia, but I would love to design some hotels in every major city. There is a lack of design-driven boutique hotels in Russia.
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Mark Your Calendar: Hopscotch Design Festival

passesPerhaps you’ve heard of the Hopscotch Music Festival, which Spin likens to “South by Southwest minus the infestation of industry vermin and the clumsy bluster of corporate partyzillas.” Now in its fifth year, the Raleigh, North Carolina-based bandstravaganza is expanding its disciplinary boundaries—to the world of design. The inaugural Hopscotch Design Festival will take place September 3-4 in downtown Raleigh, with a speaker line-up that includes OMA’s Shohei Shigematsu, Kai-Uwe Bergmann of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Casey Caplowe of GOOD, Alexander Isley, and other inspiring figures in the worlds of graphic design, user experience design, urban planning, technology, architecture, and more.

Want to go? Thanks to Moo.com, we’re giving away two run-of-the-festival passes (valued at $150 each). To be eligible to win one, write a haiku about the Hopscotch Design Festival presenter or session you’re most interested in seeing. E-mail your minimalist poem to unbeige@mediabistro.com with the subject “HOPSCOTCH” by 10 p.m. EST on Wednesday, August 27th. Winners will be notified within 24 hours.

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