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Archives: April 2012

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index Slips a Bit, But Stays Positive

Could we actually be seeing, dare we even let the thought cross our collective brains, a consistent upward trend? After years of being burnt in this exact situation, when the American Institute of Architects‘ monthly Architectural Billings Index would stay in the positive for a few months, only to plummet back and make everyone gloomy, we’re not entirely ready to dust off the helium tank and start filling up the balloons just yet, particularly because the ABI was actually down just a bit from last month. It’s currently at 50.4, a few notches lower than 51 in February, but as anything above 50 indicates an increase in billing, and provides a general sense of growth within the industry, we’ll take it. Here’s a bit from the AIA’s defender of the digits:

“We are starting to hear more about improving conditions in the marketplace, with a greater sense of optimism that there will be greater demand for design services,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “But that is not across the board and there are still a number of architecture firms struggling so progress is likely to be measured in inches rather than miles for the next few months.”

Lisa Perry Debuts Jeff Koons Collection, with a Cherry on Top

(Photos courtesy Lisa Perry)

In creating those smashing Roy Lichtenstein shifts, Lisa Perry gave herself a tough act to follow, but when the going gets tough, the tough call Jeff Koons. “He gave us full access to his entire body of work,” says Perry, whose five-year-old label offers a mod mix of clothing, accessories, and homegoods. “It was more inspiration than I could have ever dreamed of!” She selected some of Koons’ greatest hits—including his stainless steel “Rabbit” (1986), the porcelain sculpture that proved to be the Pink Panther’s ticket to Versailles, and the inflatable simian star of “Monkey Train” familiar from Koons-sanctioned beach towels and skate decks—and turned them into a capsule collection of dresses, jackets, handbags, and jewelry. Although a few of the pieces are reminiscent of Stella McCartney’s 2006 collaboration with Koons, a shiny bunny-accented range of chiffon dresses that excerpted canvases from his “EasyFun – Ethereal” series, Perry excels in showcasing details from these same works in fresh ways: the dollop of whipped cream eyed lasciviously by the Trix rabbit in “Loopy” (1999) becomes the cherry-topped bodice of a frothy white shift and pops up again on a colorful bangle. Priced from $150 to $4,500, the collection is now available at Perry’s Madison Avenue shop, which recently moved a few doors down into the corner space previously occupied by the Gagosian Store.

BAM Teams with Paddle8 for Benefit Auction

There are benefit auctions and then there are benefit auctions. The one organized by the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is of the latter variety, italicized for seriousness of purpose (all dollars earned go to support BAM programs) and seriously covetable art on offer. You have ’til the clock strikes 6:00 p.m. EST on Sunday to bid on the more than 100 works in the eighth edition of the BAMart Silent Auction, for which the organization has partnered with burgeoning online art marketplace

With BAM Trustee and megacollector Beth Rudin DeWoody on board as “honorary auction curator,” the 150-year-old performing arts center (America’s oldest) has lined up an eye-popping selection of works, some of which—stunning Pat Steir canvas, we’re looking at you—will move to Phillips as live auction lots. Brooklyn’s own art scene is represented by the likes of Tauba Auerbach, Dustin Yellin, Erik Benson, and Mickalene Thomas, whose “High Priestess in Black Dress” (2011) is a sassy mix of photos, drawings, and vintage wallpaper. Meanwhile, there are plenty of blue-chip works, including those by William Kentridge, Cindy Sherman, and Richard Serra. Stumped for a Mother’s Day gift? Nothing says “I love you” like a “Deadly Fucking Rainbow,” by Michael Scoggins. More traditional types can opt for the Ellsworth Kelly, whose bold lithograph can double as a Romanian flag. And speaking of flags, Maira Kalman offers a charming sea of American versions, in her “2 Million People” (2009-2011).

Pictured: “Baby Jane,” a 2008 watercolor by Mark Chamberlain

Bonnie Fuller: My First Big Break

In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “My First Big Break,” we hear from editor Bonnie Fuller. Fuller gained international acclaim as the editor of magazines such as Marie Claire, US Weekly and Cosmopolitan, but did you know that she started out as a beat reporter writing about sports clothes? Or that a friendship with an upcoming fashion designer named Tommy Hilfiger led to a meeting that would change her professional career? Watch below, as Fuller explains how she went from a young cub reporter, to one of the most powerful women in publishing.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Artist Christian Marclay, McQueen’s Sarah Burton Among TIME‘s 100 Most Influential People

“Before microphones and television were invented, a leader had to stand in front of a crowd and bellow,” notes Rick Stengel, managing editor of TIME. “Now [one] can tweet a phrase that reaches millions in a flash. Influence was never ­easier—or more ephemeral.” Which makes the task of selecting TIME‘s list of the 100 most influential people in the world all the trickier. This year’s list, announced today and on newsstands tomorrow in the magazine’s April 30 issue, includes those who have wielded influence through fashion design (Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen), exquisite gadgets (Apple CEO Tim Cook), political cartoons (Ali Ferzat), Nordic cuisine (René Redzepi of Noma), and spandex underthings (Spanx founder Sara Blakely).

Then there’s the influencer who is lauded for his way with time itself: Christian Marclay, creator of the 24-hour cinematic odyssey known as “The Clock.” Geoff Dyer was up to the task of composing a concise yet evocative summary of the video piece, which he describes as stemming from an idea “audacious in its simplicity and herculean in execution.” As for the writer’s own experience of the work—well, it’s something of a chrono-cautionary tale. “During the film’s opening run in London, I had intended to stay long enough to get the gag—10 minutes?—before hurrying on to a lunch date,” writes Dyer. “It was so hypnotic, so thrilling, that I ended up watching 20 hours over a month, arranging life and appointments (for which I was invariably late) in such a way as to catch previously unseen segments of that celluloid epic called a day.”

Neville Brody and Jon Wozencroft’s FUSE Returns

Neville Brody and Jon Wozencroft ignited FUSE in 1991 as a “dynamic new forum for typography that [would] stimulate a new sensibility in visual expression, one grounded in ideas, not just image.” More than a decade since its last issue, the influential publication (which commissioned original, “experimental” fonts from type gods such as Erik Spiekermann, Peter Saville, and Tobias Frere-Jones, and provided them to readers on a disk) returns in FUSE 1-20, out this month from Taschen. The deluxe box set includes all 18 out-of-print issues compiled into a book designed by Brody as well as two never-before published issues, complete with posters and access to an online library of 24 fresh fonts, including eye-popping creations from Stefan Sagmeister, eBoy, and Lucienne Roberts. “The computer will encourage designers to create new ways of using the alphabet—but first we must clear the cobwebs that cover the type that has so quickly been digitized and dumped in the system folder,” wrote Wozencraft in his introduction to the debut issue. “Otherwise we will be left deeper in a digital nightmare, plundering as many hot metal typefaces as possible to compensate for our lack of imagination. We will pretend to be in command of our language, but will actually be locked in a museum.”

Quote of Note | Franca Sozzani

“I think I just do what I feel is good to do. Everybody can give me their suggestions, but at the end, the final risk is mine because it’s my name on the magazine. So I only do what I really feel. Everybody tries to influence you, of course: ‘Oh, this is the right moment to do this’ and ‘This is the right photographer to choose,’ and ‘This is the right model to have…’ I listen, but I must go my own way. When you take risks, it means that you know every month people are there to judge you. Some months are good; some months are bad. When you make a mistake, they call you immediately. And when you do something good, they send flowers to the stylist. So this is a way to say that I want to do it myself. I don’t care if you like it or not. I do the magazine that I think is correct. If you like this issue, I am more than happy. If you don’t like this issue, you will like the next because we do 14 issues a year. So once in a year you will love, no?”

-Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief or Vogue Italia and editorial director of Condé Nast Italy, in an Interview interview with Livia Firth. On May 4, Sozzani will be in New York to discuss her career (and, if history is any guide, a lot more) at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Register here to attend the free event.

Your 2012 AIGA Medalists: Ralph Caplan, Elaine Lustig Cohen, Armin Hofmann, and Robert Vogele

Frederic Goudy had one, so did Philip Johnson and Robert Rauschenberg. The Eameses had two. Pentagram is awash in them. George Lois wears his to bed. We’re talking about AIGA Medals, the graphic design world’s highest honor. This year’s medalists are Ralph Caplan, Elaine Lustig Cohen, Armin Hofmann, and Robert Vogele. Caplan will be honored for his “discerning eye, deftness with words, and wonderful sense of humor toward defining design over half a century through writing, editing, and teaching,” while Lustig Cohen gets the nod for for her integration of “European avant garde and modernist influences into a distinctly American, mid-century manner of typographic communication.” AIGA recognizes Swiss graphic designer Hoffman, who Paul Rand once described as a shape-shifting “daredevil driver, mountain climber, teacher par excellence, and guru,” for his broad and deep influence in “teaching the power and elegance of simplicity and clarity through a timeless aesthetic, always informed by context” while the entrepreneurial Vogele is singled out for having “nurtured the creative potential of generations of Chicago designers, challenging all to think about design for the greater good.” They will be presented with their James Earle Fraser-designed medals tomorrow evening at Bright Lights.

This Week on the Job Board: People StyleWatch, Prevention, Bonnier/Parenting Group

This week, People StyleWatch is hiring a deputy photo editor, while Prevention needs a deputy art director. Bonnier/Parenting Group is on the hunt for a photo editor, and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is seeking a digital imaging specialist. Get the scoop below, and find more new job openings on

For more job listings, go to the Mediabistro job board, and to post a job, visit our employer page. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

No Matter What He Might Have Told You, Philippe Starck Isn’t Designing a Product for Apple


The internet was suddenly abuzz late last week, just before the weekend, when everyone’s favorite French designer Philippe Starck told a newspaper that he was working with Apple on a revolutionary product that would be out in the next few months. That certainly would be exciting, given that the internet nearly implodes when there’s even a hint of something Apple related in the works, and due to Starck’s long legacy in product design. Unfortunately, Starck also sometimes seems to mangle his words a touch, or exclaim lofty ambitions that maybe aren’t so grounded in reality. Over the weekend, Apple released a statement saying that no, they weren’t working with Starck on anything. Shortly thereafter, the Wall Street Journal reports that the designer laid everything out a bit more clearly, explaining that he’s working with Steve Jobs’ family on building a yacht. All of this, of course, makes much more sense, given that Apple generally keeps their product design very in-house (and certainly away from chatterboxes) and Starck now has something of a history building eco-friendly mega-yachts. We liked these couple of sentences the WSJ put together, summing up this recent there-and-gone story:

This episode has proved two things. Anything said about Apple provokes a huge buzz among the company’s followers. And Mr. Starck, who has waved his minimalist magic wand over everything from a toothbrush to a lemon squeezer to a mineral water bottle to penknives to hotels, likes to talk about himself.