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Archives: May 2008

The Unmistakable Allure of Marilyn Minter

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Even if the only cosmetic you use is ChapStick and you think Sephora might be a laundry detergent, we advise you to pick up a copy of the June issue of Allure. After you’ve pondered the news that Jessica Alba was reading Philip Roth‘s The Human Stain during the cover shoot, a tidbit reported just before a page devoted to the trend of “stained lips” (coincidence?), turn to page 170, where artist and photographer Marilyn Minter has photographed freckled, shimmery-faced Brazilian model Cintia Dicker for writer Rebecca Mead‘s piece on the world’s ambivalence toward ephelides (that’s the scientific term for freckles, we learned in the fourth paragraph).

“All you ever see in magazines or ads are women with this porcelain white skin,” notes Minter in a caption. “I started craving the opposite. Freckles look really fresh to me. I like how overt they are.” Alas, Minter’s photos aren’t online, so we’ve taken the liberty of snapping the splendid spreads ourselves. Click “continued…” to see the other two.

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Friday Photo: Ask the Locals

(Davi Russo).jpgIn this week’s Friday Photo, we remind you that tonight is the opening of artist and designer Chris Rubino‘s “limited tourist attraction” in New York City’s Times Square. As we told you last week, “The Center of Something” will riff on the souvenir shop in the heart of tourist country and show off Rubino’s take on New York as a destination for both visiting and living. Rubino, who exhibits his excellent eye for images in the “Something I Saw This Week” feature of his website, sent us this photo by NYC-based photographer and art director Davi Russo to help us get in the mood for tonight’s opening festivities. For a closer look at that cockroach t-shirt (and to swoon over that Leon Neon color palette), click “continued…” for a larger version of the photo.

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Harry White’s 52 Exhibit Design Aphorisms

(From blog.orselli.net).jpgOver at his ExhibiTricks blog, Paul Orselli interviews Harry White (at right, in a fetching chapeau), the longtime director of exhibits at (and now a consultant to) the TechniQuest Science Center in Cardiff, Wales. Among our favorite parts of the Q&A comes when White discusses his famed exhibit aphorisms cards, a deck of 52 exhibit design-related quotations, jokes, and provocations that he created as a teaching tool. We prefer those that White describes as “shorter and reflect[ive of] bitter experience,” such as: “Sufficient ruggedisation of loose parts turns them into weapons” and “For every hole or gap, there is a corresponding human limb or appendage to get wedged in it.” We think some of the others would make excellent inspirational posters:

Exhibits are about the phenomena. If the Visitor notices that the design is good, then it’s not good enough.

The interactive content of an exhibit is inversely proportional to the area and expense of the graphic surrounding it.

The probability of somebody doing the absolutely inconceivable is never exactly zero.

Richard Meier to Wield Sharpie at Book Signings in Soho, Basel

meier the book.jpgArchitect, collagist, and budding knitwear designer Richard Meier will be at the Taschen store in New York City on Tuesday evening (6-8 p.m.) to sign copies of the shimmering 568-page Meier monograph published earlier this month by Taschen. Then he’ll cap his Sharpie, but not for long. On Friday afternoon, Meier is scheduled to sign up a storm at Art Basel in Switzerland. Richard Meier & Partners, Complete Works 1963-2008 was a collaborative effort among Meier, author Philip Jodidio, and graphic designer Massimo Vignelli. Edited by Jodido (former editor of Connaissance des Arts), the book includes a preface by Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza. In the below excerpt, Jodido takes on Meier’s favored color palette (or absence of color palette, as the case may be):

Why is white, the absence of color, Richard Meier’s choice? His own words answer this question best, explain the link between his method and his fundamental concerns, and betray a poetic nature: “White is the ephemeral emblem of perpetual movement. White is always present but never the same, bright and rolling in the day, silver and effervescent under the full moon of New Year’s Eve. Between the sea of consciousness and earth’s vast materiality lies this ever-changing line of white. White is the light, the medium of understanding and transformative power.”

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If You’re a Reporter Headed to the ‘Woodstock Museum’, Make Sure to Talk to Duke Devlin

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Okay, last post and then we promise to get our heads out of the pot clouds and back into the 2000s. The New York Times rounds out our triune of Museum at Bethel Woods coverage, as writer Peter Applebome took a trip (zing!) out to “the Woodstock Museum” and reports back on all the goings-on in the new 60s-lovefest building. It’s a funny piece to read, particularly if, just yesterday, you read our post about Bloomberg‘s coverage of the museum. In both stories, most of their focus is seeing the place through the “forever hippie,” Duke Devlin. Which leads to the question, did the museum hire Devlin to hang out and give the place some local color, along with some “I was there, man!” quotes? Or is this just the best thing to ever happen to the guy, the opening of this museum and getting even more validation that Woodstock was so awesome and you should have been there, or is he just hanging out in front of the place, asking people, “Hey, are you a reporter? ‘Cause I can totally let you know what the scene is around here.” Anyway, it’s another interesting look at the place and now, we promise to move on.

The Whole Deal on Nouvel’s New Signal Tower

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After our quickie post yesterday about Norman Foster losing to Jean Nouvel on a contract to build the second tallest building in Paris, the Signal Tower, we heard from our friends over at Building Design, who let us know that they have loads and loads on material on the new building and that we should come and check it out. Well, we did, and now we pass along all the goodness to you. It’s brief, but there’s some great photos, some good quotes by the judging panel who selected the winner, and even a downloadable copy of the entire PowerPoint presentation all about the plans for the Tower. So go forth and gobble it all up. Then book a flight to Paris and hang out when they start breaking ground on the project. Then you can brag to every random passerby, “I know what that’s going to look like!” Except, you know, in French.

Austin and Pihlak’s Presentation Synopsis on the Flight 93 Memorial’s ‘Idea-Drift’

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For the past little while, you might recall that we’ve been reporting on both fronts of the issues surrounding the Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania, with Alec Rawls and his people trying to get a complete redesign, saying that the whole thing looks too similar to an Islamic symbol, to the other debate over whether or not Paul Murdoch borrowed some of his ideas from other designers who were submitting concepts during the initial stages (you’ll recall that this has just recently been making some headlines again). Two of the people involved with the later issue, Lisa Austin and Madis Pihlak, were kind enough to write in to us and offer us a synopsis of their recent presentation at a National Parks Service-sponsored conference about park planning and design, held at the University of Virginia. As we’re always keen to share both sides of the story, allowing you to make up your own mind, so you’ll find the synopsis, which we found pretty interesting, below and continued on to a second page:

Idea-drift is the inadvertent migration of design elements from one proposal to another that occurs with some frequency in 2-phase competitions. The phase-1 section is open to anyone who registers. Submissions are usually exhibited in a gallery and, in larger competitions, on a website. In phase-2, a few finalists are paid to expand their ideas, and a winner is selected.

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SOFA Features Sculpture, Jewelry, Tables, but No Sofas

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On the heels of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair comes the Sculptural Objects and Functional Art fair (SOFA), which runs through Sunday at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. Despite the acronym, there’s not a sofa in sight, although we spotted a few tables and chairs (heavy on the George Nakashima) at last night’s gala opening. With 67 galleries from 11 countries exhibiting, the 11th incarnation of SOFA aims to bridge design, decorative, and fine art with an eclectic mix of works ranging from crafty glass jewelry (Murano fans, rejoice!) and jaw-dropping feats of beadwork to Japanese ceramics that look like they fell to earth from a distant planet and a stoneware and brass statue of a dapper wolf dressed to impress in a suit and tie.

After admiring the goods at the Barry Friedman Ltd. booth (where a biomorphic Wendell Castle creation is stationed as if to greet passersby), we were blown away by Korean artist Shin Sang Ho‘s “Fired Painting” (2006), vertically striped panels of glazed ceramic hanging in the Loveed Fine Arts booth. Also worth a close look are the Franz Hals-meets-Jasper Johns-style paintings of artist Bruce Thurman, who also happens to be a licensed architect, he told us last night. Meanwhile, Copenhagen’s Koppe Gallery is showing works by Bodil Manz, including delightful porcelain vessels that look like coffee cans devised by a young Piet Mondrian.

This Old House Takes DIY Literally with Reader-Created Issue

Your Old House.jpgThis Old House has been remodeled—by its readers. The June issue of the home improvement magazine boasts that it is “100% reader-created,” complete with a cover that reads This Your Old House. Brimming with reader-submitted photos, the issue features the winners of the magazine’s remodel contest, results of a “highly unscientific” reader survey, and a section entitled “On the Couch With This Old House” in which the magazine’s renovation-oriented psychiatrists analyze readers’ worst contractor nightmares. Also on offer are instructions on how to create your own backyard pond and new ways to get that Craftsman style (think Gustav Stickley, not those tools that Bob Vila speaks so highly of).

Folio reports today that This Old House‘s call for submissions for its first reader-generated issue was so successful that it will be an annual affair. “But just as important,we received so many great tips and projects from readers—and they’re still coming in—that we’re going to continue showcasing them in each issue,” executive editor Kathryn Keller told Folio. “We definitely want to keep the conversation going.”

The Whole Woodstock (Museum) Experience

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Heading back to rural New York again and to the soon-to-open Museum at Bethel Woods (or “The Woodstock Museum”). Jeremy Gerard over at Bloomberg wound up getting the whole story behind the creation of the museum, from buying the land to the fallout from the government trying to hand it some money to its opening this weekend and the problems they’re already having with the place (see: they held the original, 1969 festival out in the middle of nowhere for a reason — there’s nothing around for miles). It’s a fun piece, full of all the colorful characters who can’t keep from wanting to relive their glorious, rebellious, mud-encrusted, odorous youths, as well as some critiquing of the new building and its various exhibits:

The hardwood structures feel tersely corporate; above one interior archway there’s even the U.S. Marine Corps insignia — a tribute to Gerry [the writer's tour guide]‘s service but strikingly out of place here.

You can watch films describing the advent of rock music, the British invasion, the clothes and art of the period. You can revisit the civil rights and antiwar movements on video and film; sit in a psychedelic bus, recall the Kennedy assassinations and the moon landing. Some 70 oral histories were commissioned and filmed by documentary filmmakers, and the ones I viewed were entertaining and informative about politics, culture and fashion.

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