On Sunday, April 28th, take a break from your digital devices to spread the unusual beauty of a historical photographic process as the world celebrates Pinhole Photography Day. Now in its thirteenth year, the event celebrates and promotes the lenless method that dates from the 10th century. Join thousands of people (pinheads?) from around the globe in the simple act of making a pinhole photograph by adapting an existing camera or making your own out of a light-tight container, such as a box or a can, with a tiny hole in one side. Leave your perfectionist tendencies at home with your digital camera, because, according to Pinhole Photography Day organizers, “This is the photography of patience, of meditation, no more anguish for a ‘badly turned out’ photo.”
mark your calendar
• On April 25 in NYC, spend the morning exploring the links between fashion and technology at “Cross-Pollination,” a half-day symposium organized by the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in conjunction with the current “Fashion and Technology” exhibition. Register here.
• Run, don’t walk to Design and Mobility: The Twenty-Second Annual Parsons/Cooper-Hewitt Graduate Student Symposium on the Decorative Arts and Design. The two-day conference kicks off on the evening of Friday, April 26, with a keynote address by Yale professor Edward Cooke.
• Having enhanced your mobility at the aforementioned Parsons confab, hop across the pond to POINT London (May 2-3), a new conference that aims to raise awareness of the power of design to influence business, education, and society. Speakers include Seymour Chwast, Barber Osgerby (a.k.a. Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby), and typographer extraordinaire Erik Spiekermann.
• The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)’s District Conferences are taking place throughout April around the country, from Hartford to Long Beach. Meanwhile, ready your inner iconoclast for “Breaking the Rules,” IDSA’s 2013 International Conference set for August 21-24 in Chicago and chaired by Paul Hatch.
• As Winnie the Pooh once said, it’s never too early to plan ahead. Mark your as yet unbesmirched autumnal calendar for “Head, Heart, Hand,” the 2013 AIGA Design Conference, which gets underway October 10 in the Mini Apple (Minnesota, that is).
Do you yearn to watch a documentary about the Chelsea Hotel (once home to the likes of William Burroughs, Dennis Hopper, and Patti Smith) in the shadow of the Chelsea Hotel? Learn about the history behind design classics such as the Harley Davidson and the London Underground map? Or just watch a strung-out David Bowie (circa 1974) discuss mime, costumes, and the invention of characters such as Ziggy Stardust? Well, you’re in luck, because all of that and more is on the agenda for the SVA BBC Design Documentary Film Festival on Sunday, March 17. Now in its second year, the day-long event offers up a slate of groundbreaking BBC films that have seen scant screen time in the United States. Curated by the all-seeing Steven Heller along with D-Crit faculty member Adam Harrison Levy, the festival includes post-film chats with veteran BBC creative director Alan Yentob. The $15 run-of-the-festival tickets are going fast, so grab one here.
Barry Bergdoll, come on down! You’re the next Andrew W. Mellon Lecturer in the Fine Arts! This spring, MoMA’s chief curator of architecture and design will present a series of six lectures entitled “Out of Site in Plain View: A History of Exhibiting Architecture since 1750.” Over a series of Sunday afternoons (see full schedule below) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Bergdoll will delve into topics such as “Architecture in Public from the Salon to the French Revolution,” “Exhibitions between Reform and Avant-Garde,” and the big finish, “Architecture and the Rise of the Event Economy,” with each lecture introducing “a new capacity for architecture itself, made possible through the culture of architectural exhibition.” Bergdoll is the 62nd scholar to deliver the Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, established in 1949 and named for the founder of the National Gallery. Past lecturers include T. J. Clark, Helen Vendler, and Kirk Varnedoe, whose lectures are available as podcasts.
X marks the spot. The identity for the new event was created by Base New York.
The Bloomberg Administration has been busy pumping up the NYC tech scene and fashion industry, and now it’s focusing on design of all disciplines with NYCxDESIGN, a collaboration among the City Council, Mayor’s Office, City agencies, and a steering committee of 33 design stars ranging from MoMA’s Paola Antonelli to AIGA/NY President Willy Wong. The inaugural twelve-day event, smartly sandwiched between Frieze and ICFF, kicks off on May 10 with happenings that will showcase NYC designers and more, from design-centric institutions and retailers to curators and educators, with the goal of driving economic development.
According to the Center for an Urban Future, NYC is home to more design firms than any other city (L.A. comes in a rather distant second), and the May event will seek to attract even more designers and manufacturers to the city, generate new sales and export opportunities for local designers, and increase design-based tourism. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is setting her sights even higher. “NYCxDesign will help demonstrate that New York City is the design capital of the world,” she said in a statement. London, Milan, and Paris–consider yourself warned.
Your tasty task, if you choose to accept it: On Friday, February 22, at noon Eastern, thousands of people around the world will pause to snap photos of their food for The Meal 2013, an ambitiously kooky initiative–part global art project, part hunger awareness campaign–of the Sketchbook Project. “Our aim is to inspire a feeling of community across geographic and cultural boundaries,” say the organizers, who have put out the call for snacky self-portraits (yourself and your meal on 2/22) and will post them online in a digital collage that’s bound to be delicious.
Neither snow nor rain nor a ferocious hurricane (nor Saturdays) can keep Pictoplasma from New York City. Postponed in the wake of Sandy, the character design conference returns to Gotham on Friday for Pictoplasma NYC at Parsons The New School for Design. Organized by Pictoplasma “brain-fathers” Lars Denicke and Peter Thaler with Parsons Illustration chair Steven Guarnaccia, the two-day confab will celebrate contemporary character visualization–illustration, animation, installation, street art, fine art, and more–with lectures, panel discussions, and screenings. Kicking off the proceedings will be lectures by newly Brooklyn-based Buff Monster and toy designer/fiber artist Anna Hrachovec, followed by insights from Argentinean animator and graphic designer Adrian Sonni and self-proclaimed plastic surgeon Jason Freeny. Stick around for Characters in Motion screenings and a Saturday morning “Parson’s Pitch” pecha kucha. New to Pictoplasma? Watch clips from previous talks here.
New York’s Grand Central Terminal turns 100 this month, kicking off a year of tributes to the beloved “cathedral of transit” that escaped demolition in the 1970s by way of a legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Sam Roberts offers a historical and cultural perspective in Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America, newly published by–of course!–Hachette’s Grand Central imprint. Centennial souvenirs can be found at the post office, where the USPS is now offering its Grand Central Terminal Express Mail stamp, featuring Illinois artist Dan Cosgrove‘s illustrated update (note the man with the roller suitcase) to Hal Morey‘s famous sunlight-streaming-through-the-clerestory-windows photo of the 1930s. The top of the stamp art includes the edges of the terminal’s famous sky ceiling, painted with a mural of constellations and figures of the Zodiac (fun fact: the constellations were accidentally painted backwards on the ceiling, so don’t rely on them for celestial navigation). And mark your calendar for March 25-31, when Nick Cave brings dancing horses to Grand Central. The artist will trot out an equine twist on his Soundsuits in a project co-presented by Creative Time and MTA Arts for Transit.
The good people of Printed Matter are heading west for the first annual LA Art Book Fair. The left coast counterpart of the beloved NY Art Book Fair gets underway tomorrow evening with an opening preview and runs through Sunday (we’ll take a Larry Clark pop-up shop over football any day) at the Geffen Contemporary, the Frank Gehry-renovated police car warehouse-turned-exhibition space that is part of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
The fair promises to be a feast of artists’ books, art catalogs, monographs, and periodicals presented by some 200 international presses, booksellers, antiquarians, and artists. Come for the zine scene–including a “Zine Masters of the Universe” exhibition featuring the work of Mark Gonzales, Ari Marcopoulos, Ray Pettibon, and Dash Snow–and stay for the Gagosian-presented homage to the late Mike Kelley, tarot card readings, and the chance to watch Jean-Philippe Delhomme sign your copy of The Unknown Hipster Diaries, among many other happenings. Can’t make it to MOCA? Snag Andrew Kuo‘s “Reasons to Move to L.A.”–all proceeds from print sales will help to keep the LA Art Book Fair free and open to the public.
The fashion world was rather slow to board the digital bandwagon, but we’ve come a long way from conversations about fashion and technology that began and ended with Hussein Chalayan‘s famous table skirt. Now anyone can purchase (and sometimes rent!) last season’s Naeem Khan at a hefty Gilt discount and pre-order next season’s Eddie Borgo baubles (from Moda Operandi), while emerging designers are flourishing everywhere from Etsy and ModCloth to Fab and AHAlife. With New York Fashion Week approaching, Hearst is seizing the app-frenzied moment for a Fashion Hackathon.
Beginning on the morning of Saturday, February 9, participating developers and designers (register here) will get to spend 24 hours coding away in the company’s breathtaking Norman Foster-designed midtown HQ to create “innovative fashion-focused apps and programs on API platforms from sponsors,” which include Hearst brands (your ELLE, your Harper’s Bazaar…), Amazon, Facebook, and Google. The grand prize winner, as determined by a judging panel of Hearst execs, tech industry gurus, and VCs will receive $10,000 and an internship opportunity. Surprise guest appearances–fingers crossed for that table skirt or better yet, a fresh-from-the-shows Glenda Bailey brandishing a tablet–are promised.