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Archives: June 2011

Steven Heller, Shepard Fairey, and DJ Spooky Walk into a Bar Bookstore…

Quick. What “proceeds by psychological manipulations, character modifications, by creation of stereotypes useful when the time comes”? This is how the late philosopher and sociologist Jacques Ellul described propaganda, but his definition could also apply more generally to graphic design. Where one begins and the other ends (or should) is the subject of what promises to be a lively, amusing, and downright informative debate-cum-panel discussion that will take place tomorrow evening in New York at the Phaidon Store. The SoHo booklover’s paradise and co-sponsor Esopus magazine have lined up the ultimate panel of experts for the propagandorama: all-seeing design maestro Steven Heller, Shepard Fairey (he who shall be Obeyed), and that Subliminal Kid DJ Spooky, also known as Paul Miller. Stick around after the panel to pick up a copy of Heller’s smashing Iron Fists: Branding the 20th-Century Totalitarian State, freshly published in paperback (the people’s format!), which he will be happy to sign for you. Click here for full details on tomorrow’s event.

Maison Martin Margiela Redesigns Paris Hotel


A view of the Essling Bar and a suite at the renovated La Maison Champs Elysées, the first hotel project for Maison Martin Margiela. Below, a hall paneled in aluminum sheets leads to the garden and upper floors. (Photos: Maison Martin Margiela)

Maison Martin Margiela will kick off couture week with a July 4 presentation at La Maison Champs Elysées, the Paris hotel that has just received a stunning makeover by the fashion house. Designed in 1864 by architect Jules Pellechet for the Duchess of Rivoli, Princess D’Essling (grand mistress of fashion maven Empress Eugenie‘s household), the Haussmannian house was completed in 1866. Nearly 150 years (and a few owners and a modern addition) later, Maison Martin Margiela won a competition to redesign the historical part of the 57-room hotel. Team Margiela worked with landscape painters and lighting engineers to deploy materials ranging from wool and paper to Ductal concrete and “gypsum from the Urals” in a new restaurant, smoking room, bar, and reception area, along with 17 jaw-dropping hotel suites. One is papered in black-and-white photographs of the sumptuous salon below, while another drapes everything in Margiela’s signature white cotton covers. Museum fanatics can book the “Closet of Rarities” suite, where the coal black walls and black-stained oak parquet floors are offset by a cabinet of curiosities. “Maison Martin Margiela has created a dramatic world where reality and make-believe seem to blend,” noted the house in a statement. “The decor is like a succession of stage sets where references are mixed so as to create an unusual atmosphere where past and present jostle harmoniously.”

5 Things You Need to Know This Week: Marriage, Michele, and Movies

In this week’s episode of “5 Things You Need to Know This Week,” we challenge Michele Bachmann to a staring contest, take a journey through the t-shirt of Novak Djokovic’s dad, and uncover the history behind the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

You can also watch this video on YouTube.

Popular Street Artist ‘Moustache Man’ Arrested in New York

Apparently just canceling the “Art in the Streets” show at the Brooklyn Museum wasn’t enough to keep the pesky street artists away from New York. Following the recent arrest of artist and former Keith Haring collaborator, Angel Ortiz, and the slew of arrests that have plagued Los Angeles following the opening of the aforementioned exhibition in that city, the AP reports that popular street artist Joseph Waldo was recently arrested “on charges including felony criminal mischief and possession of a graffiti instrument.” Waldo had operated under several names, most having the word “mustache” somewhere in the title due to his method of defacement, wherein, instead of drawing a mustache made of hair, he would put that same word on the upper lip of unsuspecting signage. Clever and funny, he recently said in an interview that “At its simplest level, it’s a quick joke meant to give commuters something to smile about while they’re waiting for the subway, coming off from a long day at work, or getting stabbed on the D train.” But he had apparently gotten too prolific and popular for the NYPD’s liking and was eventually nabbed after the authorities had reportedly spent the last two months tracking his work.

Van Gogh Museum Set to Close in 2012 for Renovations, Collection Moving to Hermitage Amsterdam

Hot off the heals of last year’s fun “watch them restore The Bedroom live” online project and the recent news that a once-though self-portrait is now believed to be a painting of his brother, Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum is closing up shop. We could very nearly hear your audible gasps at that news, but rest easy (and stop gasping so loudly), the museum will just be closing temporarily, as their building is renovated, largely “to meet the heightened security requirements for the visitors and the art” (we think that means that they’re going to re-do all the eyes, so it looks even more like the paintings are looking at you no matter where you are in a gallery — that’s always spooky). What’s more, the Van Gogh is giving everyone plenty of notice, as they won’t close down until September 15th of next year, then hoping to re-open on March 15th of 2013. In the interim, if you’d like to still see a bevy of paintings by the artist, you’ll only need take the short hike over to the Amsterdam arm of the Hermitage, the aptly named Hermitage Amsterdam. The fellow museum will take a reportedly large collection from the rehabbing museum, both for safe keeping and to mount a special exhibition. So now that you know all the details and understand that you have a whole year to prep for its closure and that, on your next trip to Amsterdam, you can still swim in a sea of Van Gogh’s, hopefully you’re back to being calm and relaxed. It’s at this point that we wouldn’t even dare tell you another piece of museum news: that plans for a Bruce Lee Museum in Hong Kong have fallen apart and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be built. Oh, wait… Sorry. Please feel free to take another Xanax.

Michael Kors on the Hunt for $500 Million for ‘Aggressive Global-Expansion Plans’

If you have a few extra millions of dollars burning a hole in your pocket, but you don’t want to shell out that $1 billion Pierre Cardin is asking for in an outright sale of his label, perhaps your money would be better put to use in the hands of Michael Kors. The NY Post is reporting that it has discovered that the fashion mogul and television judge is attempting to raise $500 million for “aggressive global-expansion plans” for his eponymous brand. The paper reports that Kors has been keeping his fundraising efforts quiet, hitting up potential investors who are eager to chip in to help grow an empire, but won’t blow his cover. In exchange for the $500 million, Kors is apparently “looking to sell an equity stake of about 25 percent in the coming months.” Should he raise the money, it would bring the brand’s value up to “a staggering $2 billion.” Still, if you are thinking about investing your millions with Kors, we advise caution, because $500 million can also buy a very nice death ray. Given that Kors seems to always be wearing all black, the wardrobe of choice of nearly all evil masterminds, we can’t guarantee that his intentions are pure and that he hasn’t already secured an army of mole people to help him rule, post-death ray.

Wanted: Digital and Print Projects Manager for MoMA

MoMA is hiring! The museum is on the hunt for a digital and print projects manager to join its publications department. Art lovers, read on.

Here, you’ll work with the curatorial, education, communication, Web and IT departments to develop digital publications on select exhibitions, programs and collections. You’ll develop content with internal and external teams, while establishing budgets and managing the design, production and distribution of digital publications.

To land the gig, you’ll need at least five years of experience in publishing, ideally in the visual arts. You should be familiar with all aspects of publishing and have strong organizational and administrative skills. Expert multi-taskers who thrive under pressure will excel in this position, and those with knowledge of InDesign, Photoshop and various video formats are most wanted. Interested? Apply here.

Attend mediabistro.com’s Career Circus on August 4 in New York City to find out where the jobs are, develop a career plan and engage with media peers and leaders.

Hot off the Presses: Tobias Wong’s Newsprint-Scented Candle

Still looking for that perfect office-warming gift for Jill Abramson? Get a whiff of Tobias Wong‘s The Times of New York candle, now available (in a limited edition of 1,000) from New York-based boutique Project No. 8. Wong, who died last year at the age of 35, had proposed producing a candle with the fragrance of newsprint inspired by The New York Times but didn’t live to see the project realized. His friends and collaborators at Various Projects and Bondtoo got the job done, settling on notes of guaiacwood, cedar, musk, and spice. Meant to mimic the aroma of black ink on newsprint, the scent is described by its creators as “powdery” with “velvet nuance” (terms we often use to characterize charismatic Timesman David Carr!). The $65 candles come in white glass jars that are printed with “The Times of New York” in the Gray Lady’s signature blackletter. Meanwhile, we suggest following your nose to San Francisco, where SFMOMA has mounted the first in-depth museum presentation of Wong’s work. The exhibition is on view through July 24.

Longtime Employee Bill Gaytten Takes Over as Creative Director of John Galliano

As the trial-turned-spectacle continues for John Galliano, business continues back at the designer’s eponymous label, which he’d been fired from back in March after making anti-Semitic remarks in a French bar. While owner of the label, Christian Dior SA, ultimately decided to keep the label active, even after letting Galliano go, the brand had been struggling to find its sea legs after the departure of its captain. But now it appears that they’ve found their successor to the throne. Bloomberg reports that Bill Gaytten, who had worked directly for Galliano for the past 23 years, will take over his former boss’ title of creative director. Originally trained as an architect in the UK before moving on to fashion, here’s a bit more about the new head honcho:

Gaytten, born in England in 1960, has worked at Galliano for 23 years after employment at Victor Edelstein for three years, the fashion house said in a statement yesterday.

“Gaytten’s expertise to innovate patterns, cut and drape are what define the DNA of the house,” the statement said.

Authorities Investigating James “Whitey” Bulger’s Connection to 1990 Thefts at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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This past weekend, while at a wedding in St. Louis, we got into a conversation with a former Bostonian about having visited his home town last fall. While listing the places we’d visited, he stopped when we’d mentioned touring the famous and soon-to-be-expanded Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. “Do they still have the section blocked off where the burglary took place?” They did, we told him. “Man,” he continued, “That was such a big deal when I was a kid.” The robbery he’s referring to, of course, is one of the country’s most famous art thefts, wherein 13 paintings, valued somewhere between $300 and $500 million were stolen and have yet to be recovered. Returning home after that conversation, we were surprised to see that the robbery has returned to the Boston news scene. With the recent high-profile arrest of James “Whitey” Bulger last week, Boston.com is reporting that the FBI is interested in discussing the 21 year old heist with him, believing that Bulger, once a major player in Boston’s criminal underworld, might have either been directly involved or would have heard who was responsible. It sounds a bit of a reach, like authorities are throwing Bulger a list of unsolved crimes and hoping something is born out of it, but who knows. Here’s a bit:

Matt Montgomery, the Gardner’s spokesman, said last week that while the museum would welcome leads, it has received no word that Bulger’s arrest might prompt a break in the case. “Until a recovery is made, our work continues,’” the museum said in a statement.

Brien T. O’Connor, a former assistant US attorney who supervised the Gardner and Bulger investigations during the 1990s, said that even if Bulger had no direct knowledge of the theft, he would have wanted to know who did it or where the artwork had been taken.

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