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Archives: March 2008

Photoshop Express Launch Round-Up


Biggest design-y story of the week was likely Adobe launching their stripped down, photo-editing web program, Photoshop Express. Granted, no one thinks it’s going to change the world for anyone who uses Photoshop for professional use, but it could possibly have a big effect on casual users who want to get in and fix up their images. Although similar programs have existed for a while now, including Google‘s Picasa, we’re thinking that just having the Photoshop brand behind this launch will likely speak a lot more loudly to your average joe, the kind who helped introduce “Photoshoped” as a regular phrase within the common vernacular. We played around with it a bit and found it perfectly pleasant, but we thought we’d take a look around the web and see what was being said about it elsewhere, from all angles:

Webware: “…it succeeds as a proof-of-concept that Flash and Flex allow you to create robust online applications that look and feel like local ones.”

Comments on Metafilter: “Interesting. But yeah, I think anything with PS as the brand needs to do a bit more than this. Also, those gold colored cartoonish “albums” look horrible – who imposed THAT on the designers?”

The Motley Fool: “Consider it a marketing exercise — Adobe is simply spreading the good word about its powerful software packages and Web interfaces, and the direct payoff will likely be very small.”

Computerworld: “The good news is that it does the 20% pretty well.”

Jeff Koons Back in Court with Ex-Porn Star/Wife, Ilona Staller


Oh, Jeff Koons. We would not be at all surprised to learn that your life was entirely based upon an arty short film made by a very serious nineteen year old film student. We’d nearly forgotten that he was married for former Italian parliament member and ex-porn star, Ilona Staller, until we were reminded of it by Art Info, who was pointing this story over at Bloomberg, finding Koons and Staller back in court, fighting over support payments for their 15 year old child, Ludwig. See? We think you’ll find it’s impossible not to imagine any of that without picturing it in grainy black and white, with a copious supply of berets on everyone (and maybe a little cameo by Sam Waterson, since it relates to NY courts and just to make it that much more weird). Anyway, she thinks he should be paying more, now that everyone wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on shiny rabbits. Here’s a bit:

Koons was directed by the Italian courts to pay 15,000 euros a month in child support beginning in 1998 as well as fees for legal proceedings in Italy, according to the suit. He didn’t made any monthly payments from Oct. 1, 1998, to Dec. 31, 2007, Staller claimed in her suit.

“Jeff Koons is a very famous New York artist noted for his use of kitsch imagery using painting, sculpture and other forms who exhibits his work all over the world and sells it at a very high price,” Staller said in her suit. “Koons accepted the jurisdiction of the Italian Courts and acknowledged to abide by the judgments to be rendered.”

The artist owes an additional 30,000 euros for January and February, Staller said. He has paid only about 191,426 euros for Ludwig’s care, the suit said.

Gehry’s Plans for Serpentine Gallery Unveiled


You’ll recall that back in January, we reported that Frank Gehry had been awarded the commission to design the hallmark building for this year’s Serpentine Galley in London’s Hyde Park. Now plans and photos have started to get released, giving people a peek at what’s to come this July. And living up to Serpentine’s always weird legacy, Gerhy has made a doozie, creating something that looks like the Acropolis of Athens after an earthquake. Seriously, don’t let your loved ones get anywhere near this thing if you ever want to see them again — it looks like it wants, nay, needs blood. Here’s a few images and a bit of info from the Times:

The structure, which will open in July, comprises large timber planks and multiple glass planes set at different angles…

…The Canadian-born architect, now based in the US, has never had a structure built in England before. He said: “The pavilion is designed as a wooden timber structure that acts as an urban street running from the park to the existing gallery. Inside the pavilion, glass canopies are hung from the wooden structure to protect the interior from wind and rain and provide for shade during sunny days.”

Black Panthers Headed to Seattle

(Stephen Shames).jpgSeattle is not the first city that comes to mind when we think of the Black Panthers, but that’s where they’re headed–Stephen Shames‘ photographs of them, that is. “The Black Panthers: Making Sense of History,” an exhibition of Shames’ photos of the social movement from 1967 through 1973, opens on Wednesday at the University of Washington’s Odegaard Library.

Shames, who now lives in Brooklyn, had unprecedented access to the Black Panthers during the movement’s height, capturing street demonstrations and protests as well as behind-the-scenes moments and private meetings. In his 2006 book The Black Panthers, published by Aperture, he discusses an enlightening Q&A session that followed a talk that he gave a few years ago at the University of California, Berkeley.

Someone in the audience asked about my role in the Black Panthers–was I a member of the party? I said, “No, I was just a photographer.” Several former Panthers got up and said, “Steve, we always considered you a member of the party.”

Wow. That must have been some Q&A session! For Shames, his newfound status is “a badge [he] wear[s] with honor.” As for the lessons learned, he writes, “For me the most important part of the Black Panthers’ legacy is a belief that one can effect change even when things seem hopeless.” So chin up, Starbucks and Microsoft execs, and don’t miss this show!

Putting All Your Eggers in One Art Show

  1. An image
  2. Some words (usually referring to the image)
  3. A sense of humor

This trio of requirements was the starting point for Dave Eggers as he prepared to add “exhibition curator” to his ever-increasing list of titles (among them: author, publisher, and TED prize winner). Working with Jesse Nathan and Jordan Bass, Eggers found and selected the approximately 100 works that comprise “Lots of Things Like This,” a show that opens next Wednesday at apexart, the New York-based arts organization.

apexart.jpgEggers, Nathan, and Bass initially translated their three criteria into four artists they were sure they wanted to include–Raymond Pettibon, Tucker Nichols, Maira Kalman, and David Shrigley–and then looked for other works that featured the image/words/humor mix. The resulting group includes everyone from artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Shephard Fairey to writers Kurt Vonnegut and David Mamet, and we’re betting that this is the first time that the work of Shel Silverstein has appeared alongside that of Georges Braque. (Where the sidewalk ends, indeed.)

According to Eggers, the show ended up consisting of “usually very basic or crude” drawings that are accompanied by hand-drawn text that functions like a funny caption. “So in many ways you might say these are cartoons, because we’ve just listed the qualifications of a cartoon,” notes Eggers. “But the works in this show are usually found in galleries, not newspapers or magazines, and so we have something interesting to think about: Is humor allowed in art, and in what forms? Are captions allowed in art, and why? And most importantly, why doesn’t David Shrigley spell better?”

Machine Molle Gives Justice the ’80s Logo Treatment

Have you seen the latest big design-y video thing making the rounds lately, the new music video for Justice‘s song, “DVNO”? Made by the motion graphics firm Machine Molle, it’s one of those things that make designers go all gah-gah, what with its flashy animation and its clever re-purposing of 1980s promos and logos. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re likely going to be laughed at by all your friends the next time you’re at the bar, so, for the good of you, here it is:

North Carolina Universities: ‘Where the Money Goes, So Goes Ayn Rand’


Ayn Rand is out there causing all sorts of trouble again, as we learned by way of Archinect, as told in this story in The Charlotte Observer, “Donor Gave, and UNCC Winced.” In a fairly bizarre tale, John Allison, a banker in North Carolina, who went to UNCC, has been criss-crossing the state, donating millions of dollars to universities, but with one stipulation: Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” has to become required reading, thus entering the pro-industrialist and “creators should live only for themselves” book back into popular conversation (in North Carolina at least). With talk of the requirement spreading like wildfire, controversy has spread, and everyone’s pretty upset. Here’s a bit:

UNCC received its $1 million gift pledge in 2005, but details about the “Atlas Shrugged” requirement came to light as the school dedicated an Ayn Rand reading room March 12.

“It’s going to make us look like a rinky-dink university,” UNCC religious studies professor Richard Cohen said Thursday after UNCC Chancellor Phil Dubois told the faculty council about the gift. “It’s like teaching the Bible as a requirement.”

Dubois, who learned of the book requirement this month, says it was ill-advised. He may ask Allison to reconsider it, he told faculty.

This question comes from that first paragraph: What in the world do you do at the “Ayn Rand reading room”? Is it now just a habitat for the first person who showed up the day it opened, who locked the doors and yells at people to go away?

Vice Magazine Invents the ‘Glow-in-the-Dark Cover Ad’ Business


They say that with plumbing, eventually the water is going to create enough pressure and find a way to escape from its restrictions. Such can be said with the magazine business. For instance: if you think people will only accept 60 pages of ads, you quietly try 61 — until suddenly, not six months later, your readers’ copy of Vogue weighs thirty-nine pounds and their postal carriers hate them. But when even the unconventional becomes the norm, where else can you go? In this piece in Folio by our old friend Dylan Stableford, it turns out that Vice magazine has found the solution: stick a glow-in-the-dark ad on the cover. Because, hey, your readers have to turn off the lights sometime, right? That’s when you get ‘em. Here’s a bit:

“Maintaining the integrity of our cover — which is not usually for sale — while delivering a unique and rad brand message for BMW was an amazing challenge,” Shawn Phelan, director of sales and marketing at Vice’s Toronto office, told Strategy, a Canadian marketing magazine, last week.

That’s because e glow-in-the-dark ad is a something of a production department nightmare. According to Phelan, the magazine had to print its covers at one plant; ship them to another to add the glow-in-the-dark ink, a UV coat; then back to the original plant for binding.

Top Design Part Deux Now Underway in L.A.

top design.jpgWe know, we know, you’re still coming down from Christian Siriano‘s well-deserved Project Runway victory (our verdict on his extraordinary final collection: very Rodarte-meets-Riccardo Tisci!) and wondering why Bravo didn’t just give Real Housewi[fe] of New York City LuAnn de Lesseps her own show. But a new season of the cable network’s Top Design is now officially underway, our sister blog, FishbowlLA has just reported. While they didn’t get close enough to detect the presence (or absence) of season one judge Kelly Wearstler or whether host Todd Oldham is still reading his lines like a nursery rhyme, they do have the scoop on where the show has been filming since Tuesday: the L.A. loft space location of last year’s Top Design finale.

Did you and/or your design nemesis heed the season two casting call we posted here? Do tell: unbeige AT

Kahn’s Esherick House on the Block


The lucky winner of Wright‘s May 18 auction of Louis Kahn‘s Esherick House will get more than a monumental yet intimate Philadelphia dwelling. Along with built-in bookshelves as far as the eye can see, a zippy vertical of a chimney, and windows framed in Apitong wood, the victorious bidder will have a series of striking photographs of the house by photographer Todd Eberle and an essay about it by critic Julie V. Iovine, the delightful executive editor of The Architect’s Newspaper. Auction house Wright commissioned the words and images for its Esherick House sale catalogue, which also includes extensive historical documentation.

“Photographing Kahn’s Esherick house was the first time that I have seen such a clarity of space and volume since the early nineties when I photographed Donald Judd‘s work in architecture in Marfa,” notes Eberle. “The house is a monument to Kahn’s rigorous vision, which made me fully grasp Judd’s deep admiration of Kahn.”

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