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books

Now Read This: Rube Goldberg Redux

rube coverRube Goldberg (1883-1970) is synonymous with his elaborate chain-reaction approach to completing simple tasks, but he was also an established cartoonist, humorist, sculptor, and engineer. The master of contraptions and comics gets his due in the sumptuously illustrated pages of The Art of Rube Goldberg: (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius, published by Abrams ComicArts. Authored by Goldberg’s granddaughter, Jennifer George, the book delves into his long off-limits archives to reveal and celebrate the many (moving) parts of Goldberg’s astonishing career.

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Now Read This: David Zwirner’s Pop-Up Bookstore Returns

zwirnerbooksWhen 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.

Dieter Rams (Monograph) Goes Digital

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.

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NYHS Exhibit Fêtes Ludwig Bemelmans and Madeline on Her 75th Anniversary

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
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.
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Quote of Note | Kara Walker

(Paul Rocheleau)
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)

Quote of Note | Stefan Sagmeister

warhol covers

“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.”

-Stefan Sagmeister on Andy Warhol’s album covers for The Rolling Stones (Sticky Fingers) and the Velvet Underground in Thank You Andy Warhol by Catherine Johnson (Glitterati)

Gary Hustwit’s Design Film Trilogy, Coming Soon in Book Form

design trilogy bookIf 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!”

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Advanced Style Goes from Blog to Book to Film

advanced style

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.

New Book Explores Essence of Japanese Design

wa book

The Japanese concept of “wa” is one of harmony, gentleness, and peace: qualities embodied in the country’s distinctive design aesthetic. In a book of the same name, new from Phaidon, authors Rossella Menegazzo and Stefania Piotti explore the way in which Japanese design harnesses materials ranging from bamboo to polymer-coated membranes in an elegant balance of tradition and cutting-edge experimentation. Printed on craft paper and bound in the traditional Japanese style, the book opens with an essay by Muji art director Kenya Hara, who muses on how “extreme plainness-emptiness-can invite a variety of interpretations.”

Now Read This: Favelization

favelization

Is the exotic Brazil that we see referenced and traded upon in contemporary film, fashion, and design real or imaginary? Or perhaps a little of both? These are among the questions addressed by author Adriana Kertzer in Favelization, a new ebook that is part of the DesignFile series launched last year by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Kertzer, a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Arts & Design, sets out to understand the ways in which specific producers of contemporary Brazilian culture capitalized on misappropriations of the favela (informal squatter settlements that grow along the hillsides and lowlands of many Brazilian cities) in order to brand luxury items as “Brazilian.”

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