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Archives: December 2012

Ten Artworks to Get You in the Holiday Spirit


Melodie Provenzano, “Outer Space,” 2012. (Courtesy Lyons Wier Gallery)

Happy Christmas, UnBeige readers! We had planned to present each of you with a delicious gingerbread iPad (iced with a festive facsimile of the UnBeige homepage, bien sûr), but flummoxed by the logistics of industrial baking and timely shipping, we reluctantly decided to go with something inedible yet equally delicious: ten works of art, design, and photography to get you in the holiday spirit. Thanks to many of our favorite galleries and museums, whose recent exhibitions and seasonal e-cards helped us to compile this list.


Anonymous, “A Tree That Sings,” 1945. (Courtesy Keith de Lellis Gallery)


Finnegan and Molly Kelly with Marina Abramovic’s “Artist Portrait with a Candle,” 2012. (Courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery. Photo by Jason Wyche.)

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Wanted: Production Artist to Go MAD

Does Spy vs. Spy send a thrill up your spine? Do you make a beeline for Al Jaffee’s famous Fold-in? Ready “The Lighter Side of…” your resume for this employment opportunity: MAD seeks a production artist for its NYC-based editorial department. The humor magazine is on the hunt for an InDesign-savvy layout whiz who “performs functions ranging from pre-press preparation and design to sending finished files to printer.” Gain an edge–and an Alfred E. Neumann-style insouciance–in the interview process by studying Totally Mad: 60 Years of Humor, Satire, Stupidity, and Stupidity (Time Home Entertainment), a new collection of the humor magazine’s high-quality idiocy. Click to apply for this MAD Magazine production artist job or view the latest Mediabistro design, art, and photo jobs.

GE Engineers Soup Up Santa’s Sleigh, Reindeer Rejoice

Amidst the fruitless efforts of a nine-member entity known only as “R. Deer LLC” to swap out Santa‘s rickety old sleigh with a Tesla Model S, engineers at GE have taken it upon themselves to reimagine the jolly old elf’s ride. The souped-up sleigh draws upon a range of technologies to offer a greener, faster, and more efficient Christmas Eve journey. Among the new features are a thin cooling solution that can improve jet engine aerodynamics, air traffic management technology to help Santa and the reindeer steer clear of planes, 3-D-printed sleigh blades for greater lift and maneuverability, and a rugged new battery that can function under extreme conditions.

The sleigh frame, sprayed with water- and ice-repellant coatings, has been upgraded with GE’s high-temperature ceramic composites–enabling flight into outer space and back. Santa is on board with the extraterrestrial upgrade. “I am looking forward to flying into outer space,” he said in a statement issued by GE. “This will really save time by helping me get to destinations in different parts of the world much faster.” And the reindeer couldn’t be more pleased with the redesign, which features an electric traction motor that can take over when Dasher, Dancer, and the gang need a breather. Noted Rudolph, “Covering the entire globe can be pretty exhausting, and having the opportunity to rest along the way will help us remain in peak condition.”
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Pentagram’s William Russell on Designing for Alexander McQueen

In a sea of ever more opulent emporiums designed by the usual luxemaster suspects (think Peter Marino, Bill Sofield, Michael Gabellini), Alexander McQueen stores swim against the high-gloss current. Bold, vaguely apocalyptic, and often shot through with a distinctively ghostly take on baroque exuberance, the shops are the work of Pentagram’s William Russell. In the below video, the London-based architect reflects on a decade of work with McQueen–both the PPR-owned house and the man himself, known as Lee to friends. “He wanted a collaborative relationship, rather than someone imposing a look or a feel onto him,” says Russell of developing the initial store concept with the designer. “He was a true genius–you don’t meet many in your life, and he was an extraordinary man.”


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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


“Living Room Corner Arranged by Mr. and Mrs. Burton Tremaine, Sr.,” a 1984 photograph by Louise Lawler. (Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art)

This holiday season, deck the halls with delightful juxtapositions à la Louise Lawler. The artist and photographer was granted full access to the home of 20th-century art collectors Burton and Emily Hall Tremaine in 1984, just a few years before much of their collection was dispersed at Christie’s. Armed with only a 35mm camera and a sharp eye, Lawler captured pairings such as a Jackson Pollock canvas and an elaborately decorated soup tureen, and this living room scene, in which a Roy Lichtenstein sculpture-turned-lamp appears to grab the attention of Stevie Wonder, all under the watchful eye of a Robert Delaunay disque painting. The festive trio goes on view tomorrow at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of an exhibition of photographs from its permanent collection.

Laurence King’s Twelve Desks of Christmas

You can keep your five golden rings and arboreally ensconced partridge. We’ll take eleven exotic writing utensils, ten action figures a-leaping, and a Sesame Street screen saver. All of these wonders and more await you in Laurence King‘s “Twelve Desks of Christmas.” The London-based publisher behind covetable and creative titles such as Angus Hyland and Steven Bateman‘s Symbol and 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design by Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne engaged in a little office voyeurism this holiday season, posting photos of 12 mystery desks and inviting the world to guess whose was whose. Here are a few (recently de-identified) highlights, from our desk to yours:


See those books? He wrote all of them! This is the desk of Steve Heller.
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Nifty, Gifty: Paul Smith’s Modern Mickey

From Andy Warhol and Lady Gaga to…the wonderful world of Disney? This year, Barneys New York went from downtown to main street for its holiday campaign, a high fashion take on Disney magic. Launched last month at Barneys’ Madison Avenue flagship with the help of Sarah Jessica Parker (who sported L’Wren Scott-designed lace mouse ears for the occasion), “Electric Holiday” comes complete with an animated short that features Mickey, Minnie, and the gang in designer duds along with fashion world figures such as Alber Elbaz, Daphne Guinness, and Steven Meisel transformed into cartoons by John Quinn, Disney’s character art director. And then there’s the merch. Among the selection of limited-edition holiday items–a goofy Goofy hooded towel, technicolor popcorn–is this silver vinyl mouse. Splashed with the signature stripes of Paul Smith, it’s a toy that kids of all ages will take a shine to.

This is part of a series of elegantly wrapped December posts about desirable goods that we suggest you purchase with the vague intent of giving to others and then keep for yourself.
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Quote of Note | Bruce Wagner

“I have been addicted since childhood to transcendent sci-fi book-cover illustrations; Caspar David Friedrich is the genre’s Beethoven, and his collective work, as presented in Johannes Grave‘s Caspar David Friedrich, narcotizes and inspires, and strangely, too, fills one with hope. It’s hard to resist the siren call of random titles: ‘Sleeping Child on a Grave Mound,’ ‘Burning House and Gothic Church,’ ‘Monk by the Sea.’ A quote from the artist: ‘At present I am working on a large painting, in which I am trying to portray the secret of the grave, and of the future.’”

-Author Bruce Wagner telling the Wall Street Journal about his favorite books of 2012

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Favorite Salad Dressing Recipe Revealed

Looking to add an architectural zing to your holiday meal? Simply grab the nearest greens and drizzle them with dressing favored by Frank Lloyd Wright, whose low-slung buildings give new meaning to “hidden valley ranch.” Whipping up a batch of Taliesin Dressing is as easy as combining three cups of Mazola oil with three cups of vinegar, adding one tablespoon of sugar and six cloves of garlic (mashed), stirring in the juice of three lemons, and salting to taste. Extra credit if you wear a cape whilst preparing or serving your salads.

This recipe appears in Taliesin Diary: A Year With Frank Lloyd Wright, recently published by the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The book marks the first publication of a diary by a Wright apprentice. One Priscilla J. Henken kept it during her year at Wright’s home and studio in Spring Green, Wisconsin (after which she returned to New York City and resumed her job as a high school English teacher), and the book includes notes, essays, and contemporaneous photographs. Of one November 1942 day spent in the kitchen preparing dinner for the entire compound, Henken described the results: “the tenderest roast beef I’ve ever eaten, with oven browned potatoes, carrots, lettuce with Taliesin dressing, 4 squash pies, good hot coffee.” The meal was a hit. “Everyone complimented me, to say nothing of second & third helpings. When I came into the room, they all applauded,” she wrote. “Mr. Wright said I was a girl of all-round talents–cooking, proofreading, etc. From a genius–that’s a feather in my cap!”

Elevator Pitch: Let ‘Go Try It On’ Be Your Virtual Stylist

In the latest episode of “Elevator Pitch,” host Alan Meckler talks with Marissa Evans founder and CEO of “Go Try It On.” It’s an iPhone app that acts like a virtual stylist. Users upload a photo of an outfit they plan on wearing and let their friends and the community respond.

For more videos, check out mediabistroTV, and be sure to follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

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