Ready your inner iconoclast for “Breaking the Rules,” the international conference of the Industrial Designers Society of America. Set for August 21-24 in Chicago, the megaconfab promises “an energizing, thought-provoking and potentially outburst-inducing three- day exploration of design, business, culture shifts and rule-breaking strategies that help you make the most of our evolving and often tumultuous economic climate,” according to conference chair Paul Hatch, president of TEAMS Design USA. Speakers include Dean Kamen (Deka Research & Development), Bruce Nussbaum (Parsons), and Bill Buxton (Microsoft Research). Regular registration rates end July 20, so act fast.
mark your calendar
The must-attend design event of the summer is Michigan Modern, which takes place June 13-16 on the Eliel Saarinen-designed campus of Cranbrook. The epic line-up of lectures, discussions, tours, and films will bring together architects, critics, designers, historians, and others to discuss the role of the Great Lakes State in the development of American modernism. Come for the early concrete designs of Albert Kahn for the auto industry, stay for the array of Cranbrook-affiliated designers–Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, to name a few–who became household names through manufacturers such as Herman Miller.
The main event is the symposium, which will delve into the design legacies of figures such as Harley Earl, Victor Gruen, Eero Saarinen, Alden B. Dow, George Nelson, and Alexander Girard. Meanwhile, interlocutor extraordinaire Debbie Millman will be on hand to interview textile design legend Ruth Adler-Schnee and architect Gunnar Birkerts. As if that weren’t reason enough to register, attendees will be among the first to see “Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America,” a major exhibition at the recently restored Cranbrook Art Museum. Early bird (read: discounted) registration ends tomorrow–plus, we suspect that this modfest is going to fill up faster than you can say “Minoru Yamasaki,” so don’t delay.
This 1999 photo taken on the shores of Italy’s Lake Garda will be shown in “Martin Parr: Life’s a Beach,” opening tomorrow at Aperture Gallery. (Photo: Martin Parr/Magnum Photos)
A man recently arrived at a Manhattan federal building to apply for a passport, became agitated, and ended up trying to hide from authorities–in the ceiling. Securing a passport to the arts is much easier–and comes with minimal risk of being arrested and taken to Bellevue for psychiatric evaluation–thanks to The New Yorker. The magazine and its promotions department are gearing up for the eighth annual Passport to the Arts gallery crawl, evening cocktail party, and silent auction (to benefit Creative Time) this Saturday, May 4. A $55 ticket gets you a “limited-edition passport” that each of the 19 SoHo and Chelsea galleries on the self-guided tour will stamp with a replica of a featured work of art. And with a list of participating galleries that includes Jack Shainman, Aperture, and ClampArt, this year’s Passport to the Arts promises to be quite a trip.
On Sunday, April 28th, take a break from your digital devices to spread the unusual beauty of a historical photographic process as the world celebrates Pinhole Photography Day. Now in its thirteenth year, the event celebrates and promotes the lenless method that dates from the 10th century. Join thousands of people (pinheads?) from around the globe in the simple act of making a pinhole photograph by adapting an existing camera or making your own out of a light-tight container, such as a box or a can, with a tiny hole in one side. Leave your perfectionist tendencies at home with your digital camera, because, according to Pinhole Photography Day organizers, “This is the photography of patience, of meditation, no more anguish for a ‘badly turned out’ photo.”
• On April 25 in NYC, spend the morning exploring the links between fashion and technology at “Cross-Pollination,” a half-day symposium organized by the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in conjunction with the current “Fashion and Technology” exhibition. Register here.
• Run, don’t walk to Design and Mobility: The Twenty-Second Annual Parsons/Cooper-Hewitt Graduate Student Symposium on the Decorative Arts and Design. The two-day conference kicks off on the evening of Friday, April 26, with a keynote address by Yale professor Edward Cooke.
• Having enhanced your mobility at the aforementioned Parsons confab, hop across the pond to POINT London (May 2-3), a new conference that aims to raise awareness of the power of design to influence business, education, and society. Speakers include Seymour Chwast, Barber Osgerby (a.k.a. Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby), and typographer extraordinaire Erik Spiekermann.
• The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)’s District Conferences are taking place throughout April around the country, from Hartford to Long Beach. Meanwhile, ready your inner iconoclast for “Breaking the Rules,” IDSA’s 2013 International Conference set for August 21-24 in Chicago and chaired by Paul Hatch.
• As Winnie the Pooh once said, it’s never too early to plan ahead. Mark your as yet unbesmirched autumnal calendar for “Head, Heart, Hand,” the 2013 AIGA Design Conference, which gets underway October 10 in the Mini Apple (Minnesota, that is).
Do you yearn to watch a documentary about the Chelsea Hotel (once home to the likes of William Burroughs, Dennis Hopper, and Patti Smith) in the shadow of the Chelsea Hotel? Learn about the history behind design classics such as the Harley Davidson and the London Underground map? Or just watch a strung-out David Bowie (circa 1974) discuss mime, costumes, and the invention of characters such as Ziggy Stardust? Well, you’re in luck, because all of that and more is on the agenda for the SVA BBC Design Documentary Film Festival on Sunday, March 17. Now in its second year, the day-long event offers up a slate of groundbreaking BBC films that have seen scant screen time in the United States. Curated by the all-seeing Steven Heller along with D-Crit faculty member Adam Harrison Levy, the festival includes post-film chats with veteran BBC creative director Alan Yentob. The $15 run-of-the-festival tickets are going fast, so grab one here.
Barry Bergdoll, come on down! You’re the next Andrew W. Mellon Lecturer in the Fine Arts! This spring, MoMA’s chief curator of architecture and design will present a series of six lectures entitled “Out of Site in Plain View: A History of Exhibiting Architecture since 1750.” Over a series of Sunday afternoons (see full schedule below) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Bergdoll will delve into topics such as “Architecture in Public from the Salon to the French Revolution,” “Exhibitions between Reform and Avant-Garde,” and the big finish, “Architecture and the Rise of the Event Economy,” with each lecture introducing “a new capacity for architecture itself, made possible through the culture of architectural exhibition.” Bergdoll is the 62nd scholar to deliver the Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, established in 1949 and named for the founder of the National Gallery. Past lecturers include T. J. Clark, Helen Vendler, and Kirk Varnedoe, whose lectures are available as podcasts.
X marks the spot. The identity for the new event was created by Base New York.
The Bloomberg Administration has been busy pumping up the NYC tech scene and fashion industry, and now it’s focusing on design of all disciplines with NYCxDESIGN, a collaboration among the City Council, Mayor’s Office, City agencies, and a steering committee of 33 design stars ranging from MoMA’s Paola Antonelli to AIGA/NY President Willy Wong. The inaugural twelve-day event, smartly sandwiched between Frieze and ICFF, kicks off on May 10 with happenings that will showcase NYC designers and more, from design-centric institutions and retailers to curators and educators, with the goal of driving economic development.
According to the Center for an Urban Future, NYC is home to more design firms than any other city (L.A. comes in a rather distant second), and the May event will seek to attract even more designers and manufacturers to the city, generate new sales and export opportunities for local designers, and increase design-based tourism. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is setting her sights even higher. “NYCxDesign will help demonstrate that New York City is the design capital of the world,” she said in a statement. London, Milan, and Paris–consider yourself warned.
Your tasty task, if you choose to accept it: On Friday, February 22, at noon Eastern, thousands of people around the world will pause to snap photos of their food for The Meal 2013, an ambitiously kooky initiative–part global art project, part hunger awareness campaign–of the Sketchbook Project. “Our aim is to inspire a feeling of community across geographic and cultural boundaries,” say the organizers, who have put out the call for snacky self-portraits (yourself and your meal on 2/22) and will post them online in a digital collage that’s bound to be delicious.
Neither snow nor rain nor a ferocious hurricane (nor Saturdays) can keep Pictoplasma from New York City. Postponed in the wake of Sandy, the character design conference returns to Gotham on Friday for Pictoplasma NYC at Parsons The New School for Design. Organized by Pictoplasma “brain-fathers” Lars Denicke and Peter Thaler with Parsons Illustration chair Steven Guarnaccia, the two-day confab will celebrate contemporary character visualization–illustration, animation, installation, street art, fine art, and more–with lectures, panel discussions, and screenings. Kicking off the proceedings will be lectures by newly Brooklyn-based Buff Monster and toy designer/fiber artist Anna Hrachovec, followed by insights from Argentinean animator and graphic designer Adrian Sonni and self-proclaimed plastic surgeon Jason Freeny. Stick around for Characters in Motion screenings and a Saturday morning “Parson’s Pitch” pecha kucha. New to Pictoplasma? Watch clips from previous talks here.