Why and how does color motivate, trouble, persuade, and feed our spirits? How does Pantone decide upon the “color of the year” and does it involve alcohol—a mimosa, say, or a Bombay Sapphire martini—and/or a dartboard? Why do we feel giddy when walking by the Farrow & Ball emporium that recently opened a few blocks from UnBeige HQ (hint: paint colors like “Dead Salmon,” “Mouse’s Back,” and “Clunch”)? Answers to these questions and many more are on the agenda at Print magazine’s first ever Color Conference, a three-day confab that kicks off on Tuesday at the Art Directors Club in New York. Among the creative thinkers and experts in visual culture scheduled to “reveal their passion for color, their processes, and their ideas on how color connects us all” are Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute, Pentagram’s Eddie Opara, and Cooper-Hewitt director Bill Moggridge, whose tireless engagement with the design community leads us to believe that he has managed to transform his ground-breaking GRiD Compass laptop into some sort of time machine that allows him to be in many places at once. Sign up for the conference here and enter code UNBEIGEPCC to save $50 on the $595 registration fee. And whatever you do, don’t wear beige.
Archives: September 2011
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Snohetta’s Times Square Redesign Plans Further Confuse Who Came Up With the Tourists/Natives Separation Idea First
Was this writer being a bit dense earlier this week when comparing Bruce McCall‘s latest New Yorker cover to a stunt by the popular Improv Everywhere, or has this just been a weird week for coincidences? We ask because, while we’d read bits and pieces about Norwegian firm Snohetta‘s redesign plans for the once again soon to be redesigned Times Square, this writer seems to have, on first pass, completely missed the part about the firm’s designs helping to organically separate the slow-moving tourists from the natives with places to go. There’s much more to Snohetta’s plans of course, all which can be read about in reports like this nicely succinct one from NY Times and this one from DNAinfo. We just found it potentially interesting that McCall’s New Yorker cover was released before the Times Square plans were officially announced, and McCall’s illustration seemed to borrow from artist Jeff Greenspan‘s work with Improv Everywhere made more than a year ago. Though then you add another chicken and egg scenario in that it was announced earlier this year that Snohetta had won the Times Square commission, though at that time they were still in the planning stages and this idea separating tourists from locals hadn’t yet been released (so far as we’ve been able to tell). So in the end, more confused than ever, we’re left with two options: has been floating around in the collective unconscious over the past year, or this writer is trying too hard to find patterns, or more precisely: doesn’t really have any idea of what he’s babbling about? No matter the case, Snohetta’s redesign should be finished and ready to start separating people sometime in 2014.
Speaking of the Metropolitan Museum of Art as we were in that last post, but departing in this having absolutely nothing to do with fashion, an ongoing, vicious battle continues to rage just outside the museum’s front steps. You might recall that said war rose to more recent public prominence two years back, when the Met started asking the city to remove hot dog vendors and/or given them $1000 tickets for not being in their sanctioned spaces. At the time, the museum argued that the food carts were blocking visitors from entering, though most everyone (including us) translated that into the museum wanting less traffic for the vendors and more traffic buying food in their cafes. Those various pushes made way for Cake & Shake, a multi-cart operation run by chefs Gina Ojile and Derek Hunt, to slide in last summer, paying somewhere in the $100,000+ range per year for the prime real estate. Somehow, despite all that turmoil over the past couple of years, things seemed relatively calm…until recently. The NY Times has filed this great report on the moving in of carts run by military veterans, three new ones at the time of the story’s publication. The rub is that, due to a NY law, veterans don’t have to pay the city’s high fees to act as street vendors. This seemed to work fine for one of long-serving carts, but now others have swept in, with dubious uses of the vets, one of whom the paper observed taking a nap while someone else manned the cart. Dubbed “rent-a-vet” by the other, established vendors, it’s supposed that cart owners are hiring veterans to simply sit alongside the stands, thus technically fulfilling the legal requirement, saving the owners a bundle in fees, and being able to move in on choice plots of land. It’s a great story and we’re sure, like before, that this will all get mildly ugly for a while, all the while providing even more great reading.
‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ Looks to be Headed to London, Victoria & Albert Museum Vocal About Wanting It
It appears that the masses have gotten their way, so far as “masses” refers to “people in London.” As we wrote about back at the start of the month, several grassroots movements had sprung up following the closure of the Met‘s record-setting Alexander McQueen exhibition, calling for it to start touring. At that time, there were rumors that it might actually happen, with a first stop possibly at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Now it appears that’s inching closer to reality. The Art Newspaper reports that the V&A is in talks with McQueen’s company (owned by Gucci), with new director of the museum, Martin Roth, mightily pushing to try and make it happen. Here’s a bit:
All options are being explored, even the idea of putting it on at another location if space is unavailable in South Kensington. On Roth’s first day at work in September he began contacting the key players. Although nothing has yet been arranged, he is determined to press ahead.
However, Gucci has told the paper that they’ve been in talks with several organizations in London about a show, but nothing has been decided of yet. Still, that comment seems to indicate that the move to the UK is more than likely imminent, at the V&A or otherwise. We’d imagine that every museum in London must at least be thinking about trying to land it, considering what a smash success it was in New York, and McQueen being a native of the city.
Tiny Dancers Kelli Anderson’s die-cut posters for Girl Walk // All Day, an album-length dance music video. (Photos courtesy Kelli Anderson)
Conveying the pleasures of idiosyncratic dancing in a static logo or poster is no warped waltz in the park, but Kelli Anderson was up to the task. The Brooklyn-based artist and designer created this jazzy logo (at right) and die-cut poster (above) for Girl Walk // All Day, Jacob Krupnick‘s Kickstarter-fueled dance music video set to All Day, the new album by mash-up musician Gregg “Girl Talk” Gillis. The exuberant trailer for the video (below), featuring freelance dancer Anne Marsen, became a web sensation earlier this year and helped Krupnick to raise nearly $25,000 to fund the project (more than five times his original Kickstarter goal). The 71-minute epic will be screened in public spaces, and at festivals, concerts, parties, and beyond, beginning in mid-October.
“The trailer’s surreal energy floored me,” Anderson tells us. “There is something that is so simultaneously disruptive and joyous about Anne’s movements—and the way she creatively uses stairs, benches, lampposts, the ebb and flow of the crowd, as her dance partners.” Asked by Krupnick to whip up some graphics for Girl Walk // All Day, Anderson seized upon Marsen’s “oversized, bizarre jacket” as a mascot. She was after something similarly offbeat for the video poster. “There was no doubt in my mind that the most compelling visual from the trailer were these odd bodily contortions that Anne made through dance—silhouettes we are not accustomed to seeing in public space,” says Anderson, who got to thinking about the work of Robert Longo. “I wanted to use body shapes, but black silhouettes just looked silly. So I decided to make cut-out shapes instead.”
Using footage of Marsen, she traced screengrabs of “Anne shapes,” created vector silhouettes, and mutilated pristine, Helvetica-lettered posters with her Craft Robo cutting machine. The punchouts are scattered across the surface of each poster and only visible at close range. “Even though the poster will be against a wall, I like the idea that the dancer-shapes are windows,” Anderson adds. “It reminds me of that feeling I got when I first watched the trailer—through dance, I was seeing the city anew.”
Still from Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” (2010). Photo: Todd-White Art Photography. (Courtesy White Cube, Paula Cooper Gallery, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
Still slapping yourself with a pocket watch at having missed the celebratory Boston debut of Christian Marclay’s 24-hour chrono-cinematic odyssey, “The Clock” (2010), earlier this month at the Museum of Fine Arts? Fear not. It will be at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in no time. The critically acclaimed video work has been acquired by MoMA as a promised gift from the collection of Jill and Peter Kraus. “Created with virtuosic skill by the artist, ‘The Clock’ is a tour de force of mixing, editing, and montage as it draws attention to time as a multifaceted protagonist of cinematic narrative,” said MoMA director Glenn Lowry in a statement announcing the acquisition.
Marclay and his team of six researchers spent three years watching films in search of time. They scoured chase scenes, board rooms, emergency wards, bank heists, trysts, high noon shootouts, detective dramas, and silent comedies for clocks and watches. The artist then painstakingly assembled the flagged footage into a 24-hour montage that unfolds in real time. In its first appearance stateside earlier this year, “The Clock” drew crowds (and critical acclaim) to Paula Cooper Gallery, and two of the work’s five editions were snapped up by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (for a reported $467,500) and in a joint acquisition by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the National Gallery of Canada.
The modern architecture glossy had been based in San Francisco, with editors flying back and forth from both coasts for the past 12 years. Although it has always had a strong presence in Manhattan, Dwell has now moved into its new offices in Midtown. According to Dwell President Michela O’Connor Abrams, a New York move has always been in the stars for the designer glossy. The plan was shelved, however, with the company being no exception to the economic downturn of the past four years. But now, Abrams declared, “We’re here, and we’re ready.”
Owner and founder Lara Deam (who looked stunning in her hard-to-miss Stella McCartney blouse and Marc Jacobs skirt) shared her excitement for this change with the same Dwell DNA, stating, “It was time to develop deep roots in this city and begin to grow real relationships.” The staff got a great start at the soiree, as they were in great company all throughout the night.
While munching on hors d’oeurves and sipping on Ketel One vodka, champagne and wine, visitors gave their two cents about the magazine’s expansion. While McGarry called it a “good move,” Weinreich expressed “curiosity” about the publication’s goals.The guys at Rich, Brilliant, Willing were already excited for Dwell‘s upcoming events, as well as the glossy’s change in flavor.
More event pictures after the jump: Read more
At the end of last month, you might recall that artist Ai Weiwei continued to break the ban on his talking to the media imposed upon him by the Chinese government, which had only just released him from a secretive three-month detention. At that time, and after several instances of his breaking away from his governments demands, it seems like Weiwei was getting into “final straw” territory, writing an essay for Newsweek that was highly critical of life in Beijing (the authorities, in response, tore out the page from every possible copy of the magazine they were able to find). Following that, the artist has gone largely silent. However, this week his wife, Lu Qing, made a somewhat public appearance, sending a letter to the National People’s Congress, as well as posting that letter on her husband’s recently-opened Google+ account, requesting that China’s leaders “reject draft legislation that would cement in law police powers to hold dissidents in secret locations without telling their families.” Given her familiarity with that type of situation, her push to stop the legislation is certainly understandable. In addition to hearing from Qing, Reuters report on the letter issued a quick peek at the ramifications the artist has suffered from the aforementioned wanderings away from the demands placed on him:
Asked whether he had come under more pressure from the authorities, Ai said: “I cannot do any interviews anymore, I’m very sorry, but my situation isn’t very good,” adding that he was “strictly” not allowed to use the Internet.
So has the Chinese government finally gotten to Weiwei, or is this just another brief break before he starts up again with his criticisms? We’ll have to wait and see.
The California Academy of Sciences already had a lot of green, earth-friendly things going for it, chiefly that a) it’s science-based and therefore concerned about such thing, b) it exists in a building designed to be super extra green by starchitect Renzo Piano, and c) it’s located in the Bay Area, which is the epicenter of all things green and caring about conservation. But now it just feels like they’re rubbing it in everyone’s faces. This week, despite already having received Platinum status through the U.S. Green Building Council‘s LEED system for rating sustainability, it was awarded a second Platinum nod for continuing to be sustainable after its three years in its new home (falling under the “Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance” category), something we’ve heard is much more difficult to do than just building something new and green. This “Double Platinum” makes it not only the world’s first museum to receive the rank, but it’s also the world’s largest building to hold the double, A+ rating. So okay, we get it already, California Academy of Sciences: your grass roof, your recycled denim insulation, and all those other clever sustainability things you’ve done prove that you like the earth. Now stop making the rest of us look so bad (particularly those of us part-time design blog editors who use an aerosol jet pack every day to get to the coal factory where we work). Here’s a bit from the announcement:
The Academy’s operations and maintenance practices were evaluated and earned points across six different categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. Based on a wide range of green practices and performance metrics, including transportation, purchasing decisions, and waste disposal, it was awarded a total of 82 points, exceeding the threshold for a Platinum certification (80 points).
“Our LEED Platinum building is a marvelous example of sustainable architecture that has wowed millions of visitors since we opened three years ago,” said Dr. Gregory Farrington, Executive Director of the Academy. “However, it is more than just a building. It is also a stage — one that has allowed us to host a wide variety of programs and exhibits about the history and future of life on Earth. Delivering these programs as sustainably as possible helps us inspire our visitors to make sustainable choices in their own lives.”
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