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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 jumped on the microblogging bandwagon. Look to the official UnBeige Twitter feed, for up-to-the-minute newsbites, event snippets, links of interest, design trivia, and free candy (OK, we’re still working on the physics of that last one). The Mediabistro tech wizards have added to the sidebar at right a handful of our most recent word bursts, but you can sign up to follow all of our twittering here.

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Smithsonian Displays 3D-Printed Bust of President Obama

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Watch out, Madame Tussaud’s: the Smithsonian is stocking up on strikingly lifelike likenesses. President Obama is the subject of the first presidential portraits created from 3D scan data, and the works–including a 3D-printed bust and life mask–are on display through December 31 in the Smithsonian Castle’s Commons gallery. To create the eerily accurate bust, a Smithsonian-led team thoroughly scanned the President earlier this year using a Light Stage face scanner (courtesy of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies), handheld 3-D scanners, and traditional single-lens reflex cameras. The data and the printed models are part of the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, where they join less high-tech life masks, including one of George Washington created by Jean-Antoine Houdon and two of Abraham Lincoln created by Leonard Wells Volk (1860) and Clark Mills (1865).
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Quote of Note | John Currin

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Detail from Gustave Courbet, Apples, Pears, and Primroses on a Table, 1871-1872.

“I’ve always had this thing about yellow—I don’t like cadmium yellow. I always liked chrome yellow instead of cadmium, which are real bright, chemical-looking yellows, and they weren’t really available to painters before 1870, 1850. So I thought, it’s tacky. It’s like a polyester shirt to use those yellows. And then I was just looking at this Courbet still life and it’s filled with chrome yellow and chemical yellows. So I’m starting to realize that this whole thing about being genuine and authentic is ridiculous. And I’m not conscientious or methodical enough to work that way.”

-Artist John Currin in his recent conversation with James Cuno, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, at the Getty Center. Watch a video of their entire talk below.
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Moleskine Goes Red to Fight AIDS

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Your favorite ‘lil black notebooks are taking on accents of red this month with the debut of a partnership between Moleskine and (RED), the organization founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver to engage businesses and people in the fight against AIDS. Introduced today, the (MOLESKINE)RED Special Edition #oneREDday collection consists of a classic hardcover Moleskine notebook, planner, pen, and luggage tag: 5% of the purchase price of each item will go to the Global Fund to fight AIDS. And more such collaborations are on the way. According to Moleskine, the (RED) initiative marks “the first of a series of special projects through early 2015 focused on inspiring Moleskine fans to tap their creative power to spur positive change.”

Quote of Note | Tom Hanks on Typewriters

groma“Remingtons from the 1930s go THICK THICK. Midcentury Royals sound like a voice repeating the word CHALK. CHALK. CHALK CHALK. Even the typewriters made for the dawning jet age (small enough to fit on the fold-down trays of the first 707s), like the Smith Corona Skyriter and the design masterpieces by Olivetti, go FITT FITT FITT like bullets from James Bond’s silenced Walther PPK. Composing on a Groma (pictured), exported to the West from a Communist country that no longer exists, is the sound of work, hard work. Close your eyes as you touch-type and you are a blacksmith shaping sentences hot out of the forge of your mind.”

-Tom Hanks, who has channeled his love of manual typewriters into a new iPad app, Hanx Writer

So What’s the Deal with 3D Printing?

Put on your rapidly prototyped dress (the one pictured here was created for Dita Von Teese by the architect-designer duo of Francis Bitonti and Michael Schmidt) and get the inside scoop on the technology that Wired editor-turned-robotics entrepreneur Chris Anderson has described as having the world-changing potential of the first desktop publishing tools at the Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo. The two-day confab, set for April 16-17 in Sao Paulo [insert 3D-prototyped Caipirinha here], will explore business opportunities, policy considerations, and the latest 3D printers and services. Learn more and register here.

Getty Follows ‘Open Content’ Program with Virtual Library

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The J. Paul Getty Trust is serious about sharing. The institution, which encompasses the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation, is following its “Open Content” program that set free some 5,000 high-resolution digital images for use, modification, and publishing with a virtual library. Translation: 45 years of art books for free. Among the 250 (and counting) of the Getty’s backlist titles now available to read online or download as PDFs are the 2004 catalogue of the first-ever exhibition of Cézanne’s watercolor still lifes (“a moving examination of this most subtle and luminous of mediums and genres,” according to Getty President and CEO James Cuno), the definitive English translation of Otto Wagner’s Modern Architecture, and books on globe-spanning conservation projects. We suggest igniting your winter reading list with Kevin Salatino‘s Incendiary Art: The Representation of Fireworks in Early Modern Europe.

Marcel Wanders Debuts ‘Milestone’ App

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It’s a milestone year for Marcel Wanders. The Dutch designer’s work is the subject of the first major design exhibition to be presented at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum since its 2012 reopening. The survey, “Marcel Wanders: Pinned Up at the Stedelijk,” opens Saturday–a date that will surely live in infamy on Wanders’s iPhone, as he has just launched his first app.

Milestone,” free to download through iTunes, is something of an anti-calendar: it allows users to look back fondly by marking and sharing the number of seconds since a major personal event (a first date, when one stopped smoking, the day a museum first acquired a “Snotty Vase”) took place. It’s also possible to countdown to anticipated events, but in a more festive way that the watch that just reminds you how close you are to death. “Measuring special moments in terms of seconds, minutes, hours, or days gives a new perception of time,” says Wanders. “Marking significant occasions becomes a personal experience which you can share with others, and with groups of people through your social networks.”

Quote of Note | William Boyd

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“I have a bit of an obsession with stationery. I am almost fanatical about choice of paper, notebook, writing implements. It’s getting out of hand. You’re always searching for the perfect writing implement and I think I’ve finally found it. It’s the rOtring Tikky Graphic, a German pen. I buy these by the dozen because I am afraid they might stop making them. It’s for me the perfect writing implement.”

-Author William Boyd, whose first James Bond novel will be published tomorrow by HarperCollins, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal

Beautiful Plastic: Creating a Great Designer Toy

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Hold on to your Dunnys and Munnys, design fans, because Kidrobot founder Paul Budnitz is making time in his new life as a maker of beautiful bicycles to guide Smorkin’ Labbit lovers–and anyone else who is interested–through the process of creating a great designer toy. Budnitz has signed on to teach “Beautiful Plastic: Creating a Great Designer Toy,” an online course that launches October 16 through Skillshare.

“The goal of the class is to help artists sketch their own toy,” Budnitz tells us. “I talk about the basic history of designer toys, since it’s important to know the medium in which you’re working. There’s also a discussion about appropriation and juxtaposition, two elements of design that are found in most good art (and toys), and some ideas of how to apply this to your own toy.” And of course, he’ll offer plenty of pointers on how to design and draw a toy, with an eye to getting it off the page and into into production.
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