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quote of note

Quote of Note | James Welling on Publishers’ Logos

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“In the early 1970s the most cited writer in Artforum was the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty. So I sought out Merleau-Ponty’s books published by Northwestern University Press. After some struggle I realized I couldn’t make sense of his ideas. But I came to love his publisher’s distinctive interlocking arrows on the front cover, and the interior layout and typeface. So I looked for other books published by Northwestern. When I was in New York I’d visit Papyrus Books near Columbia University and spend the evening reading philosophy and poetry in the aisles. Then I’d carefully select one volume to buy. Like Northwestern’s arrows, each publisher had a distinctive, memorable logo. Vintage Books had a fiery, anthropomorphic sun on its spine; Hill and Wang’s logo comprised interlocking black letter initials; George Braziller’s clean serif-type name locked down the title page; Grove Press placed a funny Y on the spine. Each publisher’s logo held the promise of an exciting and difficult intellectual journey.”

—Artist James Welling, a professor in the department of art and the area head of photography at the University of California, Los Angeles, in “A List of Favorite Anythings,” which appears in the winter issue of Aperture

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Quote of Note | Simon Doonan

stripes“Is there anything more jarring than a red poinsettia bursting forth from a pot wrapped in green foil? Red and green are an objectively gruesome combo. Oh, don’t get all dolly defensive! When was the last time you bought a red-and-green couch or a red-and-green floral pantsuit? Simply because it’s the holidays, we are drowning in shades of rouge and leprechaun. It’s time to rebel. Let’s take back the silent night.”

Simon Doonan commences his call for a monochrome Christmas in “Enough with the Red and Green,” his latest column for Slate

Quote of Note | Yang Liu

yang liu

“Pictograms are the earliest means of communication in all cultures. Simple illustrations slowly developed into pictorial characters and then into scripts as we know them today. I want to keep my visual means as concise as possible so that the content is in the foreground. In traditional Chinese culture, it is considered the highest of art forms to portray profound content with the fewest visual means. That tradition has also undoubtedly influenced me on a formative level.”

-Beijing-born, Berlin-based designer Yang Liu, who has followed up her East meets West with Man meets Woman (Taschen), “a documentation of my impression of gender roles and equality” in clever pictograms

Quote of Note | Rem Koolhaas

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“I was born in Rotterdam, but when I was four months old my parents took me to Amsterdam, and I never went back until I was thirty-eight and needed to decide where our architecture office would be located. I had just returned from America and had to choose between Amsterdam and someplace else in the Randstad. My instincts told me that Rotterdam would offer the best breeding ground for the kind of architecture we wanted to create, and I was vaguely aware that, since [Second World] War, and partly because Rotterdam was destroyed then, the city had systematically fostered the whole idea of modernity in the Netherlands.”
Rem Koolhaas

Pictured: A recent addition to the Rotterdam skyline is the OMA-designed De Rotterdam, a mixed-use slab-tower conceived as a “vertical city” on the river Maas.

Quote of Note | Jonathan Ive

jony_ive_1“What drove the design of the wrist watch wasn’t fashion, but utilitarianism and pragmatism. An aviator commissioned Cartier to design it because he didn’t want to take his hand off the joystick when flying. But when something is worn, issues of fashion, style and personal preference come into it. I think one of the biggest challenges we found with the Apple Watch was that we wouldn’t want to all be sitting here wearing the same thing, which is why we designed a flexible system rather than a singular product.”

-Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of Design at Apple, in a recent talk at London’s Design Museum as part of DM25—a year-long series of events staged in celebration of the museum’s 25th anniversary

Quote of Note | Ellen Lupton

honeywell round

“[Henry] Dreyfuss‘s Honeywell Round, introduced in 1953 after ten years of development, remains the most widely used thermostat on the planet. A thermostat is pure interface: it is a switch for turning a system on and off, and it is a display that communicates the system’s current and future state. Users operate the Honeywell Round with a simple twist of the dial, and they can intuitively compare the set temperature and the room temperature. The Honeywell Round replaced clunky boxes that users often mounted crookedly on the wall. Dreyfuss reinvented the lowly thermostat—produced with little consideration for users—by subjecting it to his process of designing for people.”

Ellen Lupton, senior curator of contemporary design at the Cooper Hewitt, in Beautiful Users: Designing for People (Princeton Architectural Press), a companion to the exhibition opening December 12 along with the new Cooper Hewitt.

Quote of Note | Thomas Mallon

weegee cover“I read old photographs for unexpected details, such as the faces in the crowd, the people witnessing what a historical novelist can only try to reconstruct. I keep photos around me while I write the way other authors keep music on in the background; they provide not only evidence but a kind of atmospheric stimulation. I don’t think I could have written Bandbox, a comic novel about the 1920s, without long exposure to that era’s madcap tabloid photography, and I can’t imagine Fellow Travelers, a novel I set during the McCarthy period, without the flash-lit, noirish Weegee photo that went onto the cover of both the hard-bound and paperback editions. For Watergate, the details of dress and facial expression in a photo of ‘the Rose Mary Stretch’—the president’s secretary attempting to re-enact how a gap in one of the Nixon tapes might have been created—told me more about Rose Mary Woods’s agonized embarrassment than any transcript of her testimony could.”

-Novelist and critic Thomas Mallon in The New York Times Book Review

Quote of Note | Heidi Julavits

believers“Our cover has always been really important. For those of you who haven’t seen it…Charles Burns, who is a graphic artist, does four portraits, so it’s split into quadrants and there’s four heads, basically—portraits of people. We’ve actually often thought and freaked out, what if something happened to Charles Burns? Because he’s so identified with the cover of our magazine, I don’t know what we would do if anything happened to Charles Burns.”

-Heidi Julavits, a founding editor of The Believer, at a panel discussion held earlier today at Albertine as part of “French and American Journals: A Literary Salon

Quote of Note | Frank Gehry

frank g“I’ve always talked to artists about designing art museums. I’ve always heard the same thing, which is the opposite of what Glenn Lowry [of MoMA] and those people always push for: the white pristine box. I guess they don’t know any better. Most of the artists I know complain about that, and younger artists today are refusing to be in that white box—it’s imposing a ‘purity’ that is in fact intrusive. You can see that those galleries at MoMA have failed; they have to redo them now….I’ve been listening to artists for 40 years about what galleries they want. Every artist I know loved Bilbao. Every museum director I know hated Bilbao.”

Frank Gehry, in a recent interview with Jori Finkel for The Art Newspaper

Quote of Note | Marc Newson on Carlo Mollino

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“I discovered the work of Carlo Mollino at the beginning of my career, about twenty-five years ago. The piece that really got me excited was the ‘Bisiluro’ (pictured), which was essentially a racing car that looked like a four-wheeled motorcycle, like two motorcycles bolted together. It was a fantastically brilliant thing: two pontoons joined by a metallic membrane. He raced them. They were his obsession, though he designed them not merely to look cool, but also to be functional and aerodynamic. What subsequently attracted me to his work, more than the furniture, was his general multitasking ability. Aviation, architecture, automotives, photography, furniture—he created all of those things, and he practiced across several disciplines at a time when not many other people were doing that. He eluded any job description.”

-Multitasking designer Marc Newson in the fifth (fall/winter 2014) issue of CR Fashion Book

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