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At MCNY, a Look Back to the ‘Mad Men’ Era, Illustrated

What do you get when you cross Norman Rockwell with Roy Lichtenstein? The Don Draper-era illustrations of Mac Conner. Writer Nancy Lazarus previewed the new exhibition of his work and sketched out her impressions.

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Mac Conner’s illustrations for “The Girl Who Was Crazy About Jimmy Durante” in Woman’s Day, September 1953 and below, for “How Do You Love Me” in Woman’s Home Companion, August 1950. (Courtesy of the artist)

01_How Do You Love Me_Mac Conner_1950_Courtesy of MCNY.jpgAt the ripe age of 100, McCauley “Mac” Conner is ready for his close-up. The illustrator made a special appearance this week at the opening of an exhibition of his work at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY). “Mac Conner: A New York Life,” on view through January 19, 2015, provides an in-depth look at Conner’s career along with his working process.

“The period from the late 1940s through the early ’60s was Mac’s heyday,” said Terrence Brown, the exhibit’s guest curator and director of the Society of Illustrators, at Tuesday’s press preview. During the “Mad Men” era, Conner’s illustrations appeared on the covers of leading magazines of the day such as The Saturday Evening Post and the “Seven Sisters” women’s titles, like Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, and Redbook.

“It was a vibrant time and Mac relished it,” said Sarah Henry, MCNY deputy director and chief curator. “Magazines were Mac’s favorite medium since they allowed more creative freedom. That’s also the time when he grew as a designer,” she added.
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Eileen Gray Documentary to Debut at Architecture & Design Film Festival

eileen grayThe Architecture & Design Film Festival returns to New York next month with a slate of more than 25 designtastic films that will screen at Tribeca Cinemas. Kicking off the five days of cinematic pleasures on October 15 will be the world premiere of Marco Orsini’s Gray Matters, a documentary about designer and architect Eileen Gray.

Pay no heed to the clunky title; the film is a historical, scholarly, and cinematic investigation of Gray’s life and career—well beyond the headline-making $28 million auction sale of her Dragons chair. Orsini and his crew followed Gray’s own travels, from the Irish countryside to London, from Paris to the Riviera, and drew upon never-before-seen footage and candid interviews with scholars, curators, auctioneers and collectors, including four living peers and collaborators of the artist. Here’s the trailer, best enjoyed while relaxing in a concrete modernist villa:

Voting Opens for People’s Design Award

vote for design.jpgPast winners of the People’s Design Award, launched by the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in 2006 to complement its annual National Design Awards, have ranged from the Katrina Cottage and Toms Shoes to a Braille Alphabet Bracelet and the cultural force that is Debbie Millman‘s Design Matters. As for the 2014 winner, it’s up to you, and by “you,” we mean anyone who votes—early and often (OK, daily)—here.

From today through October 6, you can browse and vote for your favorite of a field of 20 nominated designs including elegant and inventive consumer products (Drift Light, Lumio, Soma Water Bottle), medical devices (Cue, Spire, Stick-On Circuit Board), eco-friendly construction materials (Mushroom Building Blocks), emergency tools (SAM Junctional Tourniquet) and design solutions for human and environmental problems (Deka Arm, Ecozoom Stove). The winner will be announced on October 9 at the National Design Awards Gala in New York City and on the Smithsonian’s voting site.

Rock Star: Doug Pray on Levitated Mass, the Documentary

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Michael Heizer is an artist whose work you tend to stumble upon—perhaps literally, in the case of the bewitching ribbons of rusting steel embedded in the lawn of the Menil Collection—and then can’t stop thinking about. He made headlines in recent years during the installation of Levitated Mass (2012), a 456-foot-long slot constructed on the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) campus, over which is placed a 340-ton granite megalith. That momentous, paperwork-laden process, which entailed a $10 million, 22-city tour for the boulder and its custom-made trailer, is the subject of a new film by Doug Pray (Art & Copy, Surfwise). Now playing in select cities, Levitated Mass weaves together Heizer’s biography, the dreams of a major museum, and the uniting of a city—all while proving that it is possible to make a fascinating film about a massive rock. Pray (pictured below), who happens to be the son of a geologist, made time between screenings to tell us more about the film and its making.

(Diana Rathe)How did you first encounter the work of Michael Heizer?
Long before I knew about the work of Michael Heizer I had seen Adjacent, Against, Upon on the waterfront in Seattle, and, like millions of others, I’d encountered the smaller, running-water version of Levitated Mass in New York City, but I didn’t swim in it, so to speak. My first full, immersive experience was during the early days of our production on Levitated Mass while we were endlessly awaiting for the rock to get its permits and approvals and to move out of the quarry. I drove out to Mormon Mesa, near Overton, Nevada—about an hour and a half northeast of Las Vegas—and spent a half day walking around and inside Heizer’s massive Double Negative.
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Design Jobs: Birchbox, Metro News Media, LoudDoor

This week, Birchbox is hiring a photo editor, while Metro News Media needs an art director. LoudDoor is seeking a creative director, and Niche Media Holdings is on the hunt for a promotions art designer. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

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Find more great design jobs on the UnBeige job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented UnBeige pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

Marc Newson to Join Apple’s Design Team

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The word on the street (and by street we mean the vast array of tech blogs) is that Apple will use tomorrow’s highly anticipated media blitz for which it has commandeered Cupertino’s Flint Center to launch its iWatch and a couple of new iPhones. Also expected are mumblings about increased security amidst the iCloud breach and a cameo by Dr. Dre, who will probably be fully clothed. But we think news of novel devices, even one that marks the company’s foray into wearables, is no match for the bomb that Apple dropped on Friday, via Vanity Fair‘s VF Daily blog: Marc Newson is joining his buddy Jony Ive‘s design team. The Australian-born designer, who when we last we checked in with him was showcasing a feast of Newsonian domestic delights in an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is set to become Apple’s senior vice president of design, although he will continue to be based in the United Kingdom and work on projects outside of Apple.

Quote of Note | Todd Hido

stieglitz“My photobooks are organized by genre, and they are definitely not alphabetized. They’re sequenced and clustered together based on my twenty-five-year knowledge of who taught who, and who preceded them. It’s almost a little family tree of lineage. I find it to be an interesting way of approaching the collection, because you can see patterns of influence and how they fan out into the world we adore….Believe it or not, I have a strange little hobby of leaving books out and open to certain pages, sometimes for years. One of my favorite books, which has remained opened on my table ever since the day I got it, is Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set. It’s an exhaustive examination, which I believe includes every single Stieglitz photograph that Georgia O’Keeffe inherited and ultimately donated to the National Gallery of Art. Also, I often create sequences and juxtapositions between various open books; I’ve made some unique connections and combinations that way.”

-Photographer Todd Hido, who has amassed a personal collection of more than 3,200 photography books, in an interview with Aaron Schuman in The PhotoBook Review

Lucie Foundation Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Photographers

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A photo from Patricia Dinu’s “Desert of Souls” project, for which she is seeking to raise money through Fotofund.

camera moneyFor photographers who seek dollars but don’t want to get lost in the vast sea of Kickstarter projects, there is Fotofund, a new crowdfunding platform exclusively for photo-based works. The site is the latest initiative of the non-profit Lucie Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting, honoring, and cultivating photographic talent.

Fotofund was created “to provide financial backing to photographic projects through online contributions and to support photography worldwide by bringing photographers’ visions to life.” Distinct from other crowdfunding sites, the platform offers two models: a flexible funding model in which the project creator receives all donations whether or not their full funding goals are met or alternatively, they can select to only receive funding if the full amount of their goal is reached. Among the first campaigns to hit Fotofund are those aiming to create an official archive of the late Jerry Stoll’s photography from the California jazz era, a documentary project showcasing men and women who live off the grid throughout Europe, and a personal interpretation of the music and lyrics of Tom Waits—we suspect “Picture in a Frame” will figure prominently.

Watch: IKEA Takes on Apple with ‘Bookbook’

IKEA is going head-to-head to Apple with its latest launch. “At only 8mm thin, and weighing in at less than 400g, it comes pre-installed with thousands of home furnishing ideas,” boasts the Swedish furniture juggernaut. And not only is no charging required, but it can be instantly shared and recycled. Also, it’s free. The user-friendly, intelligently designed device in question? The latest IKEA catalogue. Singapore’s BBH created this video—part gentle satire, part homage—to tell the world about it, through the exuberant narration of a black t-shirted Swede.

Twitter Along with UnBeige

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Famed literary critic Lionel Trilling once described Henry James as a “social twitterer.” Sure, he meant it as an insult, but it makes us feel better about having joined the tweeting masses. Look to the UnBeige Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute newsbites, event snippets, links of interest, design trivia, and our exclusive photo of Rem Koolhaas in mid-ponder—it makes for smashing smartphone wallpaper.

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