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Archives: September 2005

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

We have to run off to teach again. Young minds have been inquiring, after all. But we’re crashing a hella hott Aaron Betsky party tonight, and we’ll bring a full report on Monday. Notebook, press hat, flashbulb camera; We’ve got it all. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend. Stop designing and go outside.

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OK, It’s Obvious, We Love Printed Matter

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We realize we tell you a lot about what’s going on at Printed Matter. Let us explain. Generally, we’re leonine leaders, not followers. We strike out on our own, cut our own path through the culturescape, make our own judgement calls. But ever since John Waters promised/threatened to Sagmeister-iffically self-mutilate on behalf of the Chelsea institution, we’ve found ourselves completely stuck in the thrall. Or its craw. Also, our counterpart The Tart is curating a show there, which we’ll keep you posted about in due complete notice. Tonight, though, the first Back Room exhibition opens with a show by artist collective Paper Rad (nb: do not click if you are prone to hallucination or barely perceptibly hungover). Here’s what they do:

Synthesizing and reprogramming popular material from television, video games, and advertising, Paper Rad works in an exuberant, neo-primitivist idiom of their own invention.

We love television, loathe video games, and are suckers for advertising. Late enough, we get exuberant, don’t like to discuss our embarrassing non-primitivism, and think idiom is just another word for milieu. So we’re psyched. 535 West 22nd Street. Show opens today, but the party isn’t until October. To reiterate: there will be no free wine tonight.

So, CRIT Founder, What Was Your Idea?


Yesterday we pointed you in the direction of CRIT, the SVA MFA (we love acronyms!) program’s design blog. We asked Steve Heller what he thought, and got his wham-bam response. And then we asked Clement Wu, who helped start it, why he had. We got an essay. To parse, he met a lot of cool people when he was trying to find a school and wanted to have a way for them to still be in touch. And it’s kinda awkward to be like “Dude, what’s your number?”. So the blog, say it with us now, brings everyone together. It’s. So. Sweet. Clement:

When Steve and I first talked about doing a blog for students, I had already researched various graduate programs and became really interested in how each school I looked into was so different from each other. I also spoke with students from different programs and thought, I might never see many of them again, which was a shame because they were so interesting.

I wrote in CRIT’s mission statement that we graduate students are a fellowship; as different as we all are individually, we have one big thing in common: our passion for design. Put me next to a design student on a long train ride, a student I’ve never met, and chances are we could probably spend the next few hours engrossed in conversation. The blog might be a version of that (but with alot more students.)

I see CRIT as many things: A place where students will come to engage in lively conversation about design issues, a place for us to see what’s going on in other programs and geographical areas we might not have the means to visit, a practical resource, and simply as a virtual lounge to hang out in. Remember in college, when you might head down to get a soda at the vending machine at night, and there’s a bunch of students playing foosball, and others on the couch, and you end up staying up to 4AM just talking? Maybe CRIT could also be something like that, in spirit, as well.

So that’s how we should have been making friends. Knew we forgot something.

Freedom-Mongering Not OK, Shopping Definitely OK


We haven’t posted anything on the news that the Freedom Center, slated in the eyes of some of the public and fewer of the press for a spot at Ground Zero, had been very recently ousted because, quite frankly, we couldn’t think of anything more superficially boring. Lots of politics and behind-the-scenes dealing so getting the real story (which we’re sure is fascinating) would probably land us behind bars or at least even less semi-employed. So we’re leaving the muddle well enough alone. But we couldn’t help notice the Times article about the new plans for 200,000 square feet of retail space.

After all, shopping saves.

Just When We Thought The Last Thing We Needed Was More Bloggery


Our bff 4eva Steve Heller slipped mention of the School for Visual Arts MFA program’s upcoming blog, CRIT, when he moderated the blog panel at the AIGA, and he wasn’t lying. The site launched a couple days ago and we’ve been watching. It’s divided into five categories that seem to (loosely) correspond to the real-life categories designers face: academics, classroom, design, the real world, and visual culture. Right now the discussions seem a little archinect-for-the-design-student, with similar questions and issues, like “How many hats can one designer wear?” and “At this rate I’m going to go nuts.” Ha! Designers are funny. We asked Steve what he thought about it. This is what he said:

As far as I can tell, this is the first blog by and for design grad students. Although it was launched by SVA’s MFA Designer As Author Students (editor/designer Clement Wu, and designer/code Glenn Eaton – who is our in-department tech administrator), it is open to all grad students and faculty in all design disciplines. It will address a healthy mix of academic as well as cultural and social issues and serve as both a forum and resource. From an educational position it’s a great way for students to express some of the concerns they bring up in classes or thesis work, but it also will contribute to the growing critical dialogue about design in all its forms.

People keep mentioning this growing critical dialogue but to be honest we can’t see it, or feel it, or touch it.
But we’ll keep looking, and in the meantime, keep reading.

So That’s What Those Ivy Leagues Do With All Their Money

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We’ve spent a minute or two on the Princeton campus in the course of our addled educational career, and were always struck by the disparate-ness of the architecture. Sixties brutalism next to burnt-out-and-then-rebuilt classicism next to Venturi’s monorailed Frist–yes, that Frist–Center. Finishing down the list, the Vinoly-designed science building opened last year and Gehry’s science library (funded by, of course, Peter B. Lewis but not involving Mr. Jolie) is under construction. But we always thought there was nothing to really tie the room together. Seems the people running shit felt the same way. So they did what any reasonable ridiculously endowed group of powerful people does. And hired Beyer Blinder Belle to fix things. Who then got an A to C-list of architects and landscapers to help them out. Princeton is asking them to spend two years and “take a
fresh look at the 400-acre campus and outline how it might grow in the future.” Who knows, we might have embraced academia by then and be able to originally report on the changed campus. For now, we’re just concentrating on sending our best thoughts to the Garden State. It needs it.

THAT’S What JPEG Stands For???


We had a lot of trouble in architecture “school.” A real lack of consistent–not to mention clear–linguistic sensibility. Half the professors kept on using phrases like post-matricial deconstruction of the pre-planar strata while the other half discussed body, mesh, and the body mesh. If only we’d had the recently launched Graphic Design Glossary to help us out, we might have had a bit more luck when we were asked to choke the raster on the 300dpi keyline and save to jpg. To think, if we’d only had the glossary, we could be junior assistant assistant architecting. For shame.

We Had A Hunch Stefan Sagmeister Was A Little Curious And We Think We Were Right


Our first prolonged exposure to Stefan Sagmeister the man happened at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston at the tail end of the rip-roaringly overscheduled AIGA. Our first prolonged exposure to Stefan Sagmeister the designer had happened a few hours earlier while flipping through Design Literacy and thinking we should get some. Literacy, we mean. Another flip-happy graphic design book (there were so many) gave us the infamous Cranbrook lecture poster where he got an assistant to X-acto-carve the necessary (sometimes superfluous) information onto his body and took a picture. An example, we think (with our newfound literacy?), of sensationalism getting slightly confused for design. Still, we’ve never turned down a shot at shock, and we’re intrigued. So were the kids at Tokyo-based Ping Magazine, who were “just too curious to wait until he comes to Japan next!” and interviewed him in his NYC studio. He’s very honest:

Q: Is there any particular meaning for this series to be set up in Lisbon or…

A: No, it’s just because they asked and I always do what I’m asked.

Also discusses handmade typography, being slow, and binging for art. See above.

So You Want To Meet A Blogger


Corporate’s throwing a design party tonight at Pioneer and we’re going. So say hi. We don’t bite. (Hard.)

It’s Pretty Sweet That The IPod Won An Award But Now They Don’t Know Who To Give It To


We told you about the INDEX 2005 Awards, with just a quick run-through of the winners. We were rushed, hurried, painting our toes. But now that we have a languid Wednesday afternoon to spend contemplating various design matters, we’ve noticed something interesting. The INDEX people do not know to whom (we are WASPS, forgive us) they should be giving the cash prize for the iPod win. From the Index announcement:

The award is giving [sic] to: The combination of iPod and iTunes

The award will be received by: ????

Apple’s general anonymity of designers has always been a sticking point with the company, and one that we–in the spirit of egalitarianism–have always found fairly worthwhile. But now that there’s some complicated portion of 500,000 Euros to be given to some designers, we’re anticipating a little bit of a catfight over at 1 Infinite Loop. If anyone’s got any dirt, or knows who’ll be getting the goods, (we’d like to start being kept in the lifestyle to which we would like to become accustomed, redux), tip us off.