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Archives: February 2009

Getty Images Expands Photographer Grant Program

dollar camera.jpgGood news in tough times: Getty Images is expanding its grants program, which since 2005 has awarded professional photojournalists and students with cash and support for editorial photography projects. The imagery giant, which last summer was acquired by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, has just announced Getty Images Grants for Good, which will award two photographers $15,000 each “to cover costs associated with creating compelling imagery to raise awareness about the issues and work of a non-profit they admire.”

The first two Grants for Good recipients will be announced in June at the Cannes Advertising Festival, with the photographers’ resulting work showcased on Getty’s website and used by the non-profit. Judges for the new competition will include ICP curator Christopher Phillips and Lesley Martin, editor and publisher of Aperture. “These grants enable more photographers to produce extraordinary imagery for important causes, supporting non-profits, NGO’s, professional associations, and charities,” said Andrew Saunders, Getty’s vice president of imagery, in a statement issued by the company. Care to apply? Get to work on assembling a short written proposal outlining your shoot plan, a supporting portfolio, a CV/resume, a profile of the non-profit with whom you will partner, and a statement of the organization’s support for the application.” You have until April 15.

SVA Announces Next Two Dot Dot Dot Events


If you’ll recall, we were on hand for the recent School of Visual Artsdot dot dot lecture that featured Gary Hustwit and we had a blast. So we’ve already marked out calendars for their next one, “The Curators,” with a Sharpie, highlighted it twelve times using five different markers, and circled it a half-dozen times with blood red ink. Unfortunately, this resulted in our calendar becoming completely illegible, so we’re using this post to remind ourselves, as well as to encourage you, to get to the White Rabbit on March 11th to see Nicholas Felton, Rebekah Hodgson, Jason Kottke, and Ms. UnBeige 1.0, the charming Jen Bekman. Here’s the description:

Curatorial strategies are spilling out of galleries and museums and into our everyday design practices. As emphasis shifts from designer to consumer, the vital role of designer is often that of mediator, shaping ideas and content created by others into another user experience. How have these new pivots changed the role of designer from one of artisan to one of curator? Four lecturers speak to curation as a way of design life, and how their audiences learn from, are inspired by, and gain insights from it.

Note: their site says the event is already “sold out” but we just received notice from them about the event again, so it’s probably worth your while to find if there’s space available. Worst case, we’ve also been given a peek at the next dot dot dot lecture, which will be held on April 15th, entitled “The Influencers,” and will feature Hillman Curtis, Steven Heller, and Jason Santa Maria. So if you can’t make it in March, make sure to keep an eye out on their events page so you can nab a spot in April.

‘Buying Binge’ at Paris YSL Auction; World (Probably) Not Ending

YSL grand palais.jpg

That’s our art market. As the Dow and the S&P yesterday crashed to a 12-year low, prompting even the most flush Russian art collector to consider calling off the private jet trip to next week’s Armory Show, Christie’s pulled off a coup at the Grand Palais, where the first of six sessions in the Collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé mega-sale pulled in €206.15 million ($266.74 million), setting a new record for a single-owner sale at auction. That fragrant 1921 Marcel Duchamp/Man Ray collaboration we had our eye on? It sold for €8.9 million ($11.2 million), nearly six times the high estimate.

In today’s International Herald Tribune, Souren Melikian called the sale of 59 Impressionist and Modern paintings, drawings, and sculpture “an unprecedented triumph” and “a stunning feat,” adding that, “Few even among those who felt confident that Saint Laurent’s name and Bergé’s business acumen would guarantee a significant success imagined that the sale would go so well.” Over at The New York Times, writer Steven Erlanger keeps his cool on the day one sale results, leading with a shrug (“Despite the global economic crisis, a lot of money seems to be left over.”) before highlighting the unsold Picasso. Meanwhile, keep your eye on the Grand Palais. On the block today in three separate sessions: the silver collection, Old Master paintings and drawings, and that stellar collection of Art Deco furniture.

Previously on UnBeige:

  • Christie’s Prepares for YSL Mega-Sale
  • Tropicana Bows to Consumer Pressure and Returns to Prior Branding


    Steven Heller must be smiling this week as he, and seemingly millions like him, complained publicly about the rebranding of Tropicana‘s orange juice packaging, enough so that the company has decided to return to their original look, designed by the good people at Sterling Brands (and whose work is now back, albeit awkwardly, on the Tropicana site, with a link telling you to click to see the brand new packaging — we expect this will probably be fixed fairly quickly). This, following all the rigamarole over Pespi‘s new logo, sure must make Arnell, the firm behind both redesigns, not be feeling so hot (and likely worried about when Pepsi decides to do their next agency review). But, for sure, it’s also a testament to the power of branding, when you get a reaction this strong to make a company as large as Pepsi turn a very quick 180. Though, in what feels like another blunder, that isn’t really what the company is saying:

    It was not the volume of the outcries that led to the corporate change of heart, [Tropicana president Neil Campbell] said, because “it was a fraction of a percent of the people who buy the product.”

    Rather, the criticism is being heeded because it came, Mr. Campbell said in a telephone interview on Friday, from some of “our most loyal consumers.”

    “We underestimated the deep emotional bond” they had with the original packaging, he added. “Those consumers are very important to us, so we responded.”

    A lousy quote, for sure, and it begs a lot of questions: Who is this tiny segment of the orange juice buying public and why do they hold such clout? Are they buying thirty vats of the stuff every week, shipped to them by barge and large trucks? Do they all have the last name “Orange” and spent all their time in tanning booths, hoping to look more like the fruit for which they’re named? Somebody really ought to make a documentary about these mysterious people, whoever they are.

    Isaac Mizrahi Chosen to Host The Fashion Show


    Designer Isaac Mizrahi, a known consumer of chocolate, has been announced as one of the two hosts of the Bravo network’s Project Runway replacement, The Fashion Show. He’ll be placed alongside actress Kelly Rowland before a group of struggling designers who undergo challenges, get voted on, someone gets sent home, etc. From the description, it sounds like it’s essentially the same thing as Project Runway but with one exception: The Fashion Show will have a studio audience (two differences if you count different hosts, we guess). Meanwhile, Project Runway was busy shooting the sixth season of the show during Fashion Week in New York last week, putting together its final episode, but without a network behind them yet and still trying to figure out who will win the legal battle between their two current owners, the Weinstein Company and NBC Universal. This also created a bit of trouble for the show, as the push back on the shooting schedule while all of this wrangling has been going on, forced the producers to put each contestant’s work on the runway, so as not to give away who were finalists:

    “I’m a little bit sad for our designers, that they don’t get that recognition today,” [Heidi Klum] said. The introductions of the finalists were taped in advance.

    In addition, all 16 contestants were expected to be backstage, making it more difficult for models or makeup artists to spot the finalists. Unlike in past years, reporters were prohibited from going into the area.

    “I feel really bad” for the contestants, one audience member said as the lights were dimmed. “What a bummer,” a woman seated in the first row added.

    Wait. Why does Klum just feel “a little bit sad” and some random viewer feels “really bad”? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Is it a German-to-English thing or is Heidi Klum a horrible, horrible person? We like being judgmental so we’re going to go with the latter.

    Starbucks Coffee Now LEED-Certified

    more bang for your bucks.jpgToday we bring you news out of Starbucks that can only deepen your complex love/hate relationship with the ubiquitous brand and its efforts to simultaneously take over the world and make it a better place to live. The company has just opened a state-of-the-art roasting plant in Calhoun County, South Carolina. Dear reader, it is LEED Silver-certified. While the plant supplies coffee only to Starbucks stores in the southeastern U.S., it’s part of the company’s goal to reduce its environmental footprint by 2015.

    In constructing the new plant, Starbucks used recycled building materials (for 20% of the materials used), and more than 75% of construction waste was recycled. The facility also features efficient lighting and water fixtures, and a portion of its power will be supplied by wind energy. According to the company, many of the green design elements used in the South Carolina project are being integrated into the company’s other roasting plants and retail stores. Next on Starbucks’ to-do list? Seek LEED certification for stores worldwide. The company has committed to LEED certification for all new company-operated stores by the end of next year.

    Metropolitan Home To Reveal ‘Met Home of the Year’ Online

    methome mar09.jpgCan’t wait for the May issue of Metropolitan Home to see if your chic dwelling is the winner of the annual “Met Home of the Year” contest? No problem. Every day this week, the magazine will showcase a new outstanding reader home design (one of the five finalists and six honorable mention winners) on its website, culminating with the grand-prize-winning Met Home of the Year announcement next Monday, March 2. The winner will also be featured in the May issue.

    “The online unveiling of the reader winners allows us the opportunity to showcase more photos and information about the residential designs than we can in the pages of Metropolitan Home,” said editor-in-chief Donna Warner in a statement issued by the magazine. “These homes and spaces are wonderful, and we want to give them a platform that will allow each of them to have their moment in the spotlight.” Among the winning entries? “A movie theater turned loft, an all-ages tree house, the savviest kitchen in Texas, and the ultimate PETA-friendly design solution.” We just hope the latter doesn’t involve chimpanzees, no matter how metropolitan.

    And Then There Were Four: Deutsche Börse Photography Prize Shortlist

    golden camera.jpgWe don’t envy the international panel of judges that will choose the winner of the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, which aims to reward the contemporary photographer who has made the most significant contribution (exhibition or publication) to the medium of photography in Europe in the previous year. This year’s shortlist is a doozy, consisting of a British-born master of quotidian America (Paul Graham), a Palestinian-American archivist/activist/poet (Emily Jacir), an old-school chronicler of poignant beauty (Tod Papageorge), and a young American star with a flair for the forbidden (Taryn Simon). The work of the four artists shortlisted for the prize, now its in its thirteenth year, went on view last Friday in an exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery in London, where it will remain through April 12 before traveling to C/O Berlin and Deutsche Börse headquarters in Frankfurt. The winner, to be announced next month, will receive £30,000 (approximately $44,000 at current exchange rates). Past winners include Esko Männikkö, Walid Raad, and Robert Adams.

    Previously on UnBeige:

  • Emily Jacir Wins $100K Hugo Boss Prize
  • A Dozen Reasons to Attend Paul Graham’s Book Launch
  • On the Verge of Collapse, Vanderbilt Museum Finds Gem Behind Basement Wall


    Another quick follow-up and this one’s a little bizarre. On Friday, we reported that Long Island’s Vanderbilt Museum was suffering the fate of many museums of late, finding themselves with little operating cash as their endowments have dried up. And as things have become dire for this, they are considering selling their prized Jurrasic Park fiberglass dinosaurs. But over the weekend, the museum’s staff discovered, hidden behind a wall in their basement of all places, what they believe is a 15th or 16th-century sculpture by the della Robbia family, famous for their work during the Italian Renaissance of that area. That’s great news in and of itself, but even better for the museum’s coffers is that the work could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. How’s that for good luck? The only trick now is that they just have to figure out if they want to sell the piece and if they can get away with cashing in on something they didn’t know they even had until a few days ago. Alternately, displaying it also might be a big enough draw, helping to land them more visitors and therefore a few more dollars in their currently-empty pockets.

    Las Vegas Art Museum to Close Its Doors, While Shuttered Minnesota Museum Tries to Figure Out What to Do Next


    The economy has once again struck a disastrous blow within the museum world. The latest to fall is the Las Vegas Art Museum, which has announced that it will be closing its doors for good, or at least until finances improve somewhere/somehow in the future. After fighting for months to try and keep the museum going, often receiving negative press and internal acrimony for their changes, their final day will be this Saturday, the 28th. Here’s a bit:

    “We’ve tried everything to keep this afloat. It’s just a challenging time,” says Patrick Duffy, president to the museum’s board. “The economic climate has eliminated several of our donations and or reduced them significantly.”

    The decision comes less than three months after executive director Libby Lumpkin resigned because the board announced that budget cuts would affect salaries and result in possible layoffs.

    Elsewhere in closed museum news, the board at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, which you might remember us telling you shut its own doors back in November, is still trying to figure out what exactly to do with their collection, whether to try and re-open at another location or to work with other local cultural institutions to get their pieces seen.