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Five Things We Learned This Week: Robert Capa Comics, Black Toothbrushes, and More

• A new book by illustrator Dominique Bertail and writer Jean-David Morvan reimagines Robert Capa‘s iconic 1944 photo of Omaha Beach: as a (French) comic strip—with a hint of Doonesbury. Watch Bertail illustrate the cover in the video above, which is backed by a recently unearthed recording of Capa’s appearance on a 1947 radio program.

• Pentagram’s Abbott Miller and team are behind the fresh look of Sotheby’s, which extends from the 270-year-old auction house’s sharp new workmark (good riddance, strange Gill Sans hybrid! Hello, Mercury!), to the redesigned website, catalogues, magazine, and more.

Paul Cocksedge Studio is looking to Kickstarter to fund prototyping, tooling, and manufacture of the Double O, a bike light named for its distinctive shape. “I wanted to design a bike light and the inspiration for Double O comes directly from the shape of the bicycle,” says the London-based designer. “I wanted something that almost looked like the bike had designed it itself.”

Robert Fabricant of Frog Design is teaming with Cliff Kuang of Wired to pen User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play. The two have inked a deal with Farrar, Straus to publish the book about “how user experience design will rule the coming decade, just as technology ruled the last” according to Publishers Marketplace.

• All the cool kids have charcoal-infused black toothbrushes from Japan. Gets yours here.

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Freelancing 101 Online Boot Camp

Freelancing 101Starting April 28, this online event will show you the best way to start your freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your schedule and managing clients. By the end of this online boot camp you will have a plan for making a profitable career as a freelancer, and the skill set to devote yourself to it. Register now! 

Livingly Media to Upgrade Lonny

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In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do series, we interviewed Livingly Media’s VP of content, John Newlin. Newlin is in charge of three sites: Zimbio (pop culture), StyleBistro (fashion), and Lonny (interior design).

Lonny launched in October 2009 as a lifestyle and home decor online magazine. It includes DIY tips (one recent article: How To Make Your Own Throw Pillows), interviews with designers, and plenty of gorgeous photos for inspiration. And soon, Newlin revealed, readers can expect a major upgrade:

Right now, we’re redesigning Lonny. It was one of the first so-called “digital shelter” sites, offering PDFs of print publications. We’ve since moved away from that format of replicating magazine pages. Because of mobile, we’ve decided to change direction and build the next thing in this shelter category. On mobile phones, Lonny is hard to read. The new Lonny will launch this spring.

To learn more about Livingly Media, including how the company acquired more than 10 million photos for its archives, read: So What Do You Do, John Newlin, VP of Content at Livingly Media?

Different Strokes: Lichtenstein Sculptures Bound for Parrish Art Museum

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It was during a break in a college art history course discussion of Saussurean signifiers that we got to chatting up the dashing head teaching fellow, then in lukewarm pursuit of his Ph.D. After some good-natured banter about the arbitrariness of the sign, we ventured into more rational territory: “So, what are you writing your thesis about?” The color swiftly drained from his face and he stared at the ground before mumbling words that were only later discernible as “the sculptures of Roy Lichtenstein.” Everything turned out for the best, and the TF in question is now an associate professor at a leading research university, but to this day we can’t pass one of the Pop artist’s fiberglass houses or aluminum brushstrokes without feeling slightly queasy.

If anything can undo that association it’s the Parrish Art Museum. Next week the museum’s stunning new(ish) Herzog & de Meuron-designed home in Water Mill, New York will get its first long-term, outdoor installation in Lichtenstein’s Tokyo Brushtroke I & II (1994), part of a series of sculptures constructed mainly in the 1990s. The soaring, two-piece sculpture, made of painted and fabricated aluminum, tops out at 33 feet, taller than the museum itself: a monolevel extruded barn-as-studio made both rugged and stealth by cloudy concrete walls and a white corrugated metal roof. A temporary loan from collectors Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman, Tokyo Brushtroke I & II will sit (in a cement brace) near Montauk Highway, acting as a colorful signpost of sorts for the Parrish.

SVA Adds One-Year MA in Design Research, Writing, and Criticism

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It was the great design scholar Ferris Bueller who once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” New York’s School of Visual Arts is heeding the need for speed and the importance of looking around with a one-year MA in design research, writing, and criticism. The new graduate program, which launches this fall, is an evolution of D-Crit (the two-year MA program in design criticism that has been sharpening design minds since 2008) streamlined into two semesters and eight months of studying images, objects, and environments, and learning ways to construct multi-format narratives that bring them to life from a faculty that includes Steven Heller, MoMA’s Paola Antonelli, and Murray Moss. “The program’s curriculum charts the cutting edge of design practice and is responsive to exciting developments in the media landscape,” says Alice Twemlow, the program’s founding chair. Learn more at next Sunday’s open house and info session.

Your 2014 AIGA Medalists: Chip Kidd, Louise Fili, Bill Moggridge, and 21 More Design Stars

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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, the AIGA is celebrating its centennial by bestowing medals on 24 design visionaries that “together exemplify the legacy of visual communications and the impact of design”: Sean Adams and Noreen Morioka, Richard Danne, Alexander Isley, Charles S. Anderson, Michael Donovan and Nancye Green, Chip Kidd, Dana Arnett, Stephen Doyle, Michael Mabry, Kenneth Carbone and Leslie Smolan, Louise Fili, Abbott Miller, David Carson, Bob Greenberg, Bill Moggridge, Kyle Cooper, Sylvia Harris, Gael Towey, Michael Cronan, Cheryl Heller, and Ann Willoughby. They will be presented with their James Earle Fraser-designed medals on April 25 at the AIGA Centennial Gala in New York City.

Quote of Note | Dan Neil

ford f-150

“Ford changed the game this week when it unveiled its aluminum-intensive pickup truck, the 2015 F-150, that is as much as 700 pounds lighter than a comparable steel-bodied vehicle. To the casual observer, the anticipated 3 mpg (20%) increase gained by Ford’s high-tech ‘light-weighting’ (a term of art) may seem marginal, but I assure you it is a figure of immediate and national consequence.

[Gives example of fuel economy gain and resulting net efficiency of Toyota Prius, which averages 50 mpg, with that of low-mpg vehicles like pickups, in which the fuel-saving effect is multiplied: to nearly four times that of the Prius, in his example.] Now reckon with the Big Multiplier: 763,000. That is the number of F-series trucks Ford sold last year, a figure that on its own would make the F-series the seventh largest vehicle company in the U.S. market. By virtue of the hundreds of millions of miles rolled up by the F-series annually, you are looking at the single biggest real-world advance in fuel economy in any vehicle since the Arab oil embargo.”

-Dan Neil, in his “Rumble Seat” column in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal

Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute to Reopen as ‘Anna Wintour Costume Center’

anna_wIt all began in 1937 with the Museum of Costume Art, a wee institution that, within less than a decade, would be incorporated and renamed as the Costume Institute and become part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Between then and now, the place has been transformed by forces including Diana Vreeland, the Brooklyn Museum (which transferred its costume collection to the institute in 2009), a little exhibition about Alexander McQueen, the generosity of Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and of course, Anna Wintour. The Vogue editor-in-chief–and longtime Met trustee–will get her due when the space occupied by the Costume Institute reopens in May as the Anna Wintour Costume Center (with the Campbell-Bolton-Wintour Brit trifecta, just be grateful that they didn’t go with “Centre”). The Anna Wintour Costume Center will house the department’s exhibition galleries, library, conservation laboratory, research areas, and offices. Meanwhile, the curatorial department itself will continue to be called the Costume Institute.
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And Then There Were Five: Vancouver Art Gallery Announces Architectural Shortlist

vag siteWestern Canada’s largest art gallery—and with a permanent collection of more than 10,000 artworks, it’s firmly in art museum territory—is in expansion mode. Planning is underway for a bigger (310,000 square feet), better Vancouver Art Gallery, which will be located on a city-owned site in downtown Vancouver. The aim of the project is “to create an architecturally significant visual art museum that places prominence on artists and art and that celebrates the rich cultural context of Vancouver.” But who will design it? The gallery has narrowed a pool of 75 architectural firms from 16 countries to an all-star shortlist of five: Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Herzog & de Meuron, KPMB Architects, SANAA, and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. Will KPMB convert on the home-country advantage? Will Herzog & de Meuron ride their recent art-smart triumphs in Watermill and Miami to another commission? Will a field trip to Philly’s Barnes Foundation seal the deal for team TWBT? Stay tuned, art and design fans, the announcement of the winning firm is expected this spring.

Smithsonian Acquires Video Games

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Flower, which co-creator Jenova Chen has likened to “video game poetry,” is now in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The Museum of Modern Art isn’t the only cultural institution shopping for video games. In the wake of its 2012 “The Art of Video Games” exhibition, the Smithsonian American Art Museum has added to its permanent collection Flower by Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago of thatgamecompany and Halo 2600 by Ed Fries. “The best video games are a great expression of art and culture in our democracy,” said Elizabeth Broun, the museum’s director, in a statement announcing the acquisitions. “I am excited that this new medium is now a permanent part of our collections alongside other forms of video, electronic, and code-based art.”
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Paddle8 Launches Sister Site for ‘Extraordinary Experiences’

Still museum
Still got it. A private, curator-led tour of the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver is among the experiences now up for grabs on Gavel&Grand.

Did Santa (or UPS) fail to deliver for you this year? Still in search of a worthy cause for an under-the-wire 2013 charitable donation? Head straight to Gavel&Grand. The recently launched site expands Paddle8‘s online platform, rounding up philanthropic auctions that are studded with extraordinary experiences. Hurry to get your bids in for the Aspen Art Museum’s Freestyle auction, which runs through tomorrow evening on the site. The big-ticket items include a stay at a private chalet and a membership at The Caribou Club, but we’re coveting the Inez and Vinoodh commissioned portrait, private tour of the breathtaking Clyfford Still Museum, and a San Francisco art junket that promises an intimate look at Ai Weiwei‘s forthcoming Alcatraz Island installation.

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