“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.”
“Paul Rand admitted all his life that he was insecure as a writer. It was his passion for the subject that made him such an effective one. In his day job on Madison Avenue, he had learned the virtues of saying more with less. As a result, Thoughts on Design is almost as simple as a child’s storybook: short, clear sentences; vivid, playful illustrations. Ostensibly it is nothing more than a how-to book, illustrated with examples from the designer’s own portfolio. But in reality Thoughts on Design is a manifesto, a call to arms, and a ringing definition of what makes good design good. This, perhaps, has never been said better than in the book’s most quoted passage, the graceful free verse that begin’s Rand’s essay ‘The Beautiful and the Useful.’ Graphic design, he says, no matter what else it achieves, ‘is not good design if it is irrelevant.’”
Want to be the only designer on your block employed by a company founded by a 1534 royal charter? Well, here’s your ticket to legitimately name dropping Henry VIII at parties and more review copies than are prudent for an urban dweller. The New York City office of Cambridge University Press is searching for a senior designer to work his or her creative magic on promoting some of the around 1,200 new books it produces each year (and that’s not even counting its historic Bibles list!). The ideal candidate, who will will lead brainstorming, concept development, and design of integrated marketing campaigns for the English Language Teaching group, has advanced understanding of branding, typography, and grids/visual systems and is a pro on InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
When the good people at David Zwirner e-mailed us with news of the gallery’s fifth annual summer pop-up bookstore, we briefly considered keeping the news to ourselves, so great is our
obsession with admiration for many artists in the Zwirner stable (Luc Tuymans! Marlene Dumas! Richard Serra!). Somehow, we’ve managed to suppress our selfish impulses to let you know that for two weeks only—right this minute through Friday, August 1—Zwirner will offer up deals galore on a selection of rare and out-of-print books, signed artist catalogues, DVDs, and more. The David Zwirner Pop-Up Bookstore, hosted with ARTBOOK | D.A.P., will be open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and you know we’ll be there bright and early to ensure first dibs on anything and everything related to Michaël Borremans. OK, and we’ll probably hoard all the Neo Rauch stuff, too. Because all’s fair in love and pop-up bookstores.
The David Zwirner Pop-Up Bookstore is located at 525 West 19th Street in NYC.
Just in time for vacation reading, Sophie Lovell‘s Dieter Rams: As Little Design As Possible (Phaidon) is making its debut in digital form. The iBooks edition of the best-selling hardcover is available tomorrow. Reformatted for iPad, the comprehensive monograph delves into the life, work, and succinct philosophy of the famed product designer, now 82, whose wildly influential designs for the likes of Braun and Vitsoe continue to sell briskly worldwide. Tap and scroll your way through many of Rams’ sketches and prototypes, as well as an interactive timeline, essays, and a foreword by Apple design guru and consummate Rams fan Jonathan Ive.
Nancy Lazarus heads up Central Park West covered in vines, in search of twelve little girls in two straight lines, or at least the smallest one of the bunch: Madeline, and her creator.
Madeline at the Paris Flower Market, 1955. Courtesy the Estate of Ludwig Bemelmans.
As a hotelier, cartoonist, and fabric designer, Ludwig Bemelmans was a jack of all trades, but Madeline, published in 1939, became his masterpiece. The New York Historical Society is marking the 75th anniversary with a retrospective of his career. “Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans,” is on view through October 19.
“He took any jobs that came along,” said exhibition curator Jane Bayard Curley of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, the show’s organizer. Over 100 works are on display, reflecting Bemelmans’ many talents: drawings, paintings, manuscripts, photographs, and specially commissioned objects, including murals for the playroom of Christina, the Onassis yacht. Bemelmans’ family opened their archives to lend artwork and memorabilia.
“We created a faux Bemelmans’ Bar, but don’t tell the Carlyle,” joked Charles Royce, who along with his wife Deborah, lent murals from their luxury hotel, Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. They acquired six plaster works, which had once graced the walls of Bemelmans’ La Colombe bistro in Paris. Royce was referring of course to New York’s Carlyle Hotel, where Bemelmans painted murals depicting the seasons of Central Park.
The Andy Warhol Museum, installation, Skulls. ©AWF (Photo: Paul Rocheleau)
“The Warhol I’ve absorbed, the Warhol who saved me, is the ambivalent cynic. Yes, human beings are worthless and life is slavery, but there is grace to be had in accepting that, loving what makes up our empty capitalist souls, plus a little tiny bit of death.
There are a lot of angles and surfaces, but when it comes to Warhol, depth is a much harder read; it lasts longer.”
-Artist Kara Walker in Thank You Andy Warhol by Catherine Johnson (Glitterati)
“He seemed to put a tremendous amount of energy into those covers; they are very carefully designed and beautifully produced. When he created them, he used his fame and star power. By that I mean it was unlikely that an unknown artist would have been able to persuade record companies to spend the extra money to produce art with those extreme production challenges and difficulties. Think about it. Having a zipper on an album cover? That was not an easy feat. It was expensive and it destroyed the records next to it. And the banana? With the peel, that you could actually peel. That also required extra cost and added necessary attention to production. Both covers are very interactive. The most legendary and memorable designs have always involved the viewer.”
If you’ve enjoyed one, two, or all three of Gary Hustwit‘s design documentaries—Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized—you’re sure to be mesmerized by his forthcoming book of compiled interviews, now available for pre-order. The 400 pages, gleaned from hundreds of hours (and 31 hard drives worth) of footage, are unedited glimpses into the minds of creative types from Paola Antonelli to Hermann Zapf. “What’s striking to me is how wide-ranging the actual conversations are compared to the films, which seem kind of narrow in comparison,” says Hustwit. “I’m actually excited—and a little frightened—about how it’ll all work in one book…we’ll see!”
What began as a blog and became a book—and then a coloring book—has shape-shifted once again. Ari Seth Cohen‘s Advanced Style heads to the big screen via filmmaker Lina Plioplyte, whose documentary follows seven fabulous New Yorkers aged between 62 and 95 as they challenge the stereotypes of beauty and aging with their unique style. Chunky jewelry, statement sunglasses, turbans, magenta, and Iris Apfel all loom large. Advanced Style makes its U.S. debut tomorrow at the Montclair Film Festival in Montclair, New Jersey. The trailer (below) is best enjoyed while wearing a cape and a minimum of eight bangle bracelets.
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