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Getty Follows ‘Open Content’ Program with Virtual Library

getty library

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.

Behind the Scenes with the Google Doodlers

Youngsters who want an inside edge on this year’s Doodle 4 Google contest can see how the pros do it as Time pays a visit to Google and meets the 10 artists and three full-time engineers dedicated to whipping up the beloved doodles—just in time for the special Valentine’s Day collaboration with This American Life‘s Ira Glass.

Fab Launches ‘First Things First’ Open Call

first thingsFab knows a thing or two about fresh starts. After a period of explosive growth fueled by hundreds of millions in funding, the design flash sale site imploded—itself. A massive restructuring that halved its employee count and winnowed down a product assortment that had ballooned to include pepperoni pizza t-shirts and Jesus kites has left the company leaner, meaner, and with a designer—Kiel Mead—in a leadership role. One of Mead’s first initiatives as executive vice president of Fab is “First Things First,” which invites designers across disciplines to submit ideas for “the first product that makes a house a home.” Selected items will be shown in New York in May, as part of Fab’s presence during NYCxDesign, and could eventually be put into production by the company. Submissions are due by March 21.

Building Seagram Named Design Book of the Year by Designers & Books

building seagramSo many books, so little time. Designers & Books is there to help you keep up with the latest releases and burrow into the backlists for those life-changing titles that you may have missed. The site has looked back on 2013 and selected its first ever Design Book of the Year: Phyllis Lambert‘s Building Seagram (Yale University Press), a comprehensive personal and scholarly history of New York’s Seagram Building. The $1,500 honorarium will be split equally among the book’s author, editor, and designer.

Honorable mentions were awarded to The Houses of Louis Kahn (Yale University Press) and the splendid Ed Ruscha tribute volume Various Small Books (MIT Press).

Christoph Niemann, RISD’s Rosanne Somerson Among ‘Doodle 4 Google’ Contest Judges

2013 winner
The 2013 national Doodle 4 Google winner was 17-year-old Sabrina Brady from Wisconsin.

christoph-niemannPut on your inventor’s helmets and break out the fancy Prismacolors, kids, because the Doodle 4 Google contest is back with a new doodling prompt: “If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place…” (Magical video glasses is probably too on the nose).

“Our theme this year is all about curiosity, possibility, and imagination,” notes Google, which has run the annual competition since 2008. Students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in U.S. schools are invited to complete that sentence in the form of a redesign of the Google logo. The winning doodle will be animated and featured, for one glorious day, on the search giant’s homepage, and the lucky doodler receives a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school. Among this year’s illustrious guest judges are artist, designer, and author Christoph Niemann (pictured) and Rhode Island School of Design interim president Rosanne Somerson, who are joined by the likes of Lemony Snicket, LEGO robotics designer Lee Magpili, and Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, directors of The Lego Movie. Start dreaming and doodling now, because all entries must be received by March 20.

Tel Aviv Architecture Gets Illustrated Tribute

tel_aviv

A stubborn Israeli landlord is partially to thank for a delightful new Tumblr. When that building owner refused to extend Avner Gicelter’s lease, he and his partner were forced to search for a new apartment in central Tel Aviv, which in 2003 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its collection of more than 4,000 Bauhaus and International Style buildings. “That process awakened my dormant passion for Tel Aviv’s unique architecture, and I got more interested in the buildings than in the apartment we were looking for,” says Gicelter, a graphic designer. He decided to share his interest with the world through Tel Aviv Buildings, a site inspired in part by Jose Guizar’s Windows of New York. “I wanted to use this simple yet very honorable way of design to show my love for my hometown and its most beautiful buildings.” We asked Gicelter more about the project and some of his favorite Tel Aviv buildings.

How do you describe the architecture of Tel Aviv?
I don’t really have a professional way to describe Tel Aviv’s architecture, only a point of view as a designer—in Tel Aviv’s central area (where you can find most of my illustrated buildings) there are two major architecture styles: the eclectic style which was active during the 1920s and 30s, and the International Style which was the major architecture movement during the 1930-50s and led UNESCO to name Tel Aviv as a world heritage site for its International Style architecture. I think that the difference between these two styles creates an unique and very interesting dialogue throughout the street of the city. In my opinion this dialogue is the best way to describe Tel Aviv’s architecture.

How do you decide which buildings to illustrate?
I start by walking throughout the city’s old areas. During that I shoot photos of buildings I find interesting, whether it is their architectural style, the way the residents designed their balconies or the presence of the building in the street. After choosing and shooting the buildings, I illustrate them with the pictures as reference.
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Marcel Wanders Debuts ‘Milestone’ App

milestone

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.”

Chinese Artists Will Transform Your Instagrams into Oil Paintings

pixelist
Watch your back, Richard Estes. A photo and, at right, the resulting Pixelist painting.

Make 2014 the year that your Instagram masterworks break free of their pixellated prisons and start a new life as…photorealist oil paintings! That’s the transformative promise of Pixelist. The startup offers handmade oil paintings of any image you can capture or create, with “commissions” starting at $150. How? A bunch of willing and able Chinese painters sourced by founder Will Freeman, an Emory grad now based in Hong Kong. He made time to answer a few questions about the burgeoning business.

pixelist exampleHow did you get the idea to start Pixelist?
Pixelist came from a love of all things custom and creative. We’ve spent years designing our own clothes, shoes, furniture, and art and hunting for the best craftspeople to bring them to life. So we were naturally attracted to the idea of harnessing the popularity of Instagram to revive commissioned painting.

That part really describes me and my years in China and Hong Kong. But my business partner, Conor Colwell, originally came up with the idea. Conor and I used to work together and would always bat around startup ideas on our lunch break. I took him to visit one of China’s “art villages” in Shenzhen and he was hugely impressed by the painting quality. Conor has always been into Instagram, so he thought it would be a great way to immortalize photos people already loved. I loved the idea because I was already deeply into getting things custom made.
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Paddle8 Launches Sister Site for ‘Extraordinary Experiences’

Still museum
Still got it. A private, curator-led tour of the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver is among the experiences now up for grabs on Gavel&Grand.

Did Santa (or UPS) fail to deliver for you this year? Still in search of a worthy cause for an under-the-wire 2013 charitable donation? Head straight to Gavel&Grand. The recently launched site expands Paddle8‘s online platform, rounding up philanthropic auctions that are studded with extraordinary experiences. Hurry to get your bids in for the Aspen Art Museum’s Freestyle auction, which runs through tomorrow evening on the site. The big-ticket items include a stay at a private chalet and a membership at The Caribou Club, but we’re coveting the Inez and Vinoodh commissioned portrait, private tour of the breathtaking Clyfford Still Museum, and a San Francisco art junket that promises an intimate look at Ai Weiwei‘s forthcoming Alcatraz Island installation.

Fred Armisen Is MOCAtv’s Ambiance Man

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Fred Armisen dressed like Beau Brummel and helping people to overcome awkward situations. Don’t be confused by the period dress or 1990s-Canadian-sitcom-level production values, this modern-day superhero is Ambiance Man, a new series created by artist Alix Lambert for MOCAtv, the YouTube channel of L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Ambiance Man is a series about a superhero who fixes what we really need fixed in our day-to-day lives,” says Lambert, who previously teamed with MOCAtv—and Sam Chou of Toronto’s Style5—for CRIME: The Animated Series. “While most superheroes are focused on preventing the end of the world, Ambiance Man is focused on transforming the moments that feel like the end of the world.” The 13-episode series also features Jack Black, Jibz Cameron, Peter Macon, and Atsuko Okatsuka.


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