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Archives: March 2013

In Brief: Met Museum Admission Fee Kerfuffle, Swiping at Pictures, Fashionable Philanthrophy

• Elsewhere in museum thievery news, a disgruntled former employee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art who we’ve identified to be Gerald Jones–and who insists to the New York Post that he is not disgruntled but a whistleblower (someone’s been watching Enlightened!)–is speaking out about the museum’s tactics for getting visitors to pay the suggested $25 admission fee. “I arranged for security officers to forcibly remove the museum visitors who demanded entry without paying,” he told the Post.

• How has technology reshaped contemporary life and what does it mean for photography? Curator Christopher Y. Lew considers “Swiping at Pictures” in an online-only essay that accompanies Aperture‘s boldly redesigned spring 2013 issue.

• Fashion powerhouses such as Donna Karan, Michael Kors, and Zac Posen are serious about philanthrophy. Gotham goes inside the minds of “6 Designers Who Give Big.”

• The selection of a new pope prompted Norma Kamali to consider how much the Catholic church influenced her career in fashion. “The tapestries and brocades, the candles, and the bar reliefs, and sculptures, and the holy water. Every one of my senses was a part of the experience,” she wrote of her childhood churchgoing in a recent “Note from Norma.”

• And speaking of fashion influences and pyramid schemes, Vince Camuto has ripped off Valentino’s wildly successful rockstud heel. Camuto’s “Mikhal” model is priced at $118, while the Italian original goes for around $950.

Break in Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist: Thieves Identified, Says FBI

Exactly 23 years after the stunning heist of masterworks from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, FBI officials announced today that they have identified the thieves (“members of a criminal organization with a base in the mid-Atlantic states and New England” is all they’ll say, dashing our hopes that Thomas Crown, Steve McQueen, and/or Pierce Brosnan was involved) and determined where the 13 artworks had traveled in the years after the robbery (Connecticut! Philadelphia!), but the hunt is still on for the pilfered Rembrandts, a Vermeer, a portrait by Edouard Manet, and sketches by Renoir, among others. Check out the FBI’s newly released video (above). There may be a $5 million reward in it for you.

Sagmeister & Walsh Designs Business Cards to Flatter, Provoke, Insult

(Photos courtesy the Luxe Project by

We’re declaring March Stefan Sagmeister month! The designer’s “Happy Show” opens Wednesday in Los Angeles at MOCA Pacific Design Center (he’ll speak on “Design and Happiness” tomorrow evening in West Hollywood), and on the other side of the country, New York’s Jewish Museum offers up a room full of jaw-dropping, typographical whimsy in “Six Things: Sagmeister & Walsh,” the first exhibition of Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh‘s recently launched design firm. Between readying museum shows, the designing duo found time to whip up some new business cards for you–and all profits go to New York’s Coalition for the Homeless.

Now to muster the courage required to give the cards to others. True to their provocative nature, Sagmeister and Walsh have created something that is half graphic design, half social experiment. The seven sets of seven cards in their “Halftone Satisfaction” series are printed with bold sentiments that range from the flattering (“It’s a delight to be around someone who loves with they do.”) to the vicious (“You are a waste of time.”). Lest you vituperate someone (“Fuck you. Eat shit.”) you had meant to compliment (“Your eyes are lovely.”), the back of each card is printed with a mood-matched pattern, from solid white through gradations of dots and finally, solid black. “It’s a test of what kind of person you are and what kind of people you meet,” says Sagmeister, “what cards would you give out and why?” Sagmeister & Walsh’s motivations for creating the cards are easier to explain: they are a limited-edition collection for the Luxe Project, a initiative that gives 100% of net proceeds to the designer’s charity of choice.

Media Beat: Lori Greiner on Swimming with Sharks

If you like watching rich people buy things on TV or prefer doing it yourself while watching QVC, then you’re probably familiar with Lori Greiner.

Greiner, known as the “Queen of QVC,” is also a regular on ABC’s Shark Tank, where those that have millions listen to pitches from those that have little more than a million-dollar idea.

SocialTimes editor Devon Glenn sat down with Greiner to talk about the show, her reign on QVC, and if any of the products she’s invested in on Shark Tank have any bite.

For more videos, check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Quote of Note | Paola Antonelli

“[Since becoming a curator in 1994, my view of design has] definitely moved more towards the ‘five-dimensional.’ The common thread is always how people live and what design can do to make life better. If design has more to say in the immaterial realm then I focus on that. I can’t deny that furniture excites me less and less. I still get excited by some pieces, like Dirk Vander Kooij‘s ‘Endless Flow’ rocking chair of 2011 (pictured). There needs to be innovation in the process and in the material because otherwise how many more chairs do we need? You need to justify your use of physical resources and your occupation of space with real innovation, real talent, and even fantasy and delight. I’m not so much of a moralist to think everything needs a purpose.”

-Paola Antonelli, director of research and development and senior curator of architecture and design at MoMA, in an interview with Ermanno Rivetti that appears in this month’s issue of The Art Newspaper

TEFAF Photo Diary: 25 Things to See at the European Fine Art Fair

At the TEFAF stand of Tornabuoni Arte, Alighero Boetti’s “Mappa del Mundo” (1980), viewed through tulips. (All photos: UnBeige)

Armory Week has come and gone in New Amsterdam, but the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) is just beginning in the Dutch town of Maastricht. Gluttons for masterpieces, we decided to take a field trip. With some 265 exhibiting art and antiques dealers, the 26th edition of the fair opened to the public today after a vernissage that, in the words of a colleague, “makes Art Basel look like a slum”–all savvy lighting, high ceilings, and spacious aisles bursting with tulips, thanks to fair designer Tom Postma.

TEFAF has long been a must for collectors of Old Masters and antiques, and in recent years has boosted its offerings in modern and contemporary art, design, and photography. Were the fair crass enough to have a slogan, it would be “where the museums shop.” We arrived in Maastricht and, fortfied with stroopwafels, set out to see works spanning 6,000 years of history. Let’s just say it’s a good thing that the fair runs through March 24. Here are 25 of our early favorites.

The multilayered stand of Axel Vervoodt. We couldn’t muster the courage to ask him whether he receives a monthly royalty check from Restoration Hardware.

Wartski of London offers (for six figures) the shot that almost killed Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Fired–maybe accidentally, maybe as an assassination attempt–in 1906, the lead pellet was mounted in gold by Carl Fabergé and presented to the tsar as a creepy souvenir.

Among the standouts in the design section of the fair: a 1921 Wiener Werkstatte table lamp by Dagobert Peche (at Bel Etage, Wolfgang Bauer, Vienna) and a preppy combination of works by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld (at Galerie Ulrich Fiedler).

Claude Lalanne‘s “Grand Lapin de Victoire” (2001) stands sentry at the Ben Brown Fine Arts stand and keeps an eye on the 1984 Basquiat across the way, at Tornabuoni Arte.

At the stand of Robert Hall, bottles, bottles everywhere, but not a drop to drink.
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Seven Questions for SodaStream Design Honcho Yaron Kopel

A judge has nixed the NYC “soda ban”–due to take effect Tuesday, it would have banned 16-ounce containers of sugary drinks that have more than 25 calories per ounce–but an appeal is in the works, and Mayor Bloomberg isn’t the only one looking to change the way we look at fizzy beverages. SodaStream is shaking up the market with its DIY take (slogan: “If you love the bubbles, set them free”). Founded in 1903 with the introduction of “an apparatus for aerating liquids,” the Israel-based company recently teamed up with Yves Behar and his team at Fuseproject to design the Source, a sleek home soda maker. “The design of Source was a process of elimination,” says Behar, who also worked on the packaging, naming, and graphic design of the compostable soda pods. Yaron Kopel, SodaStream’s chief innovation and design officer, made time during his recent trip to NYC to answer our questions about soda, the Fuseproject collaboration, and what’s next for the company.

First things first, what is your favorite beverage?
SodaStream Ginger Ale.

How do you describe SodaStream to someone who is unfamiliar with it?
SodaStream allows you to make carbonated water–which can become cola, fizzy juice, you name it–from home, in an instant. We have become so accustomed to the everyday consumption of bottled soda that its impact has been rendered mostly invisible. From an environmental perspective, when we consume and toss out plastic soda bottles, we’re doing damage. That plastic ends up forgotten, in landfills, in oceans. With SodaStream, consumers can enjoy their bubbles without any environmental impact. In essence, SodaStream takes what was once a passive, environmentally damaging practice–purchasing and enjoying soda–and has made it simple, active and environmentally sound.

What led you to seek out Yves Behar/Fuseproject, and what did you ask them to do?
Yves is among the finest industrial designers in the world. He is an innovator in sustainable design. Yves was tasked with reducing complexity and waste and creating a simple and beautiful object for the kitchen that keeps with 21st Century values. The result is SodaStream Source. Realizing that world-class design is a prerequisite to securing space on the countertop, SodaStream Source combines outstanding design with best-in-class engineering to improve functionality and ease-of-use. Its refined mechanics make the entire top surface responsive to touch. A new Snap-Lock mechanism makes the process quick, easy and intuitive, while an LED display provides instant visual feedback on the level of carbonation.

How was the process of working with Yves?
Yves and I worked together 24/7 for nine months to bring Source to fruition. It was a collaborative process. We shared a similar vision and joint desire to reduce and refine the user experience. Nothing about Yves’ work is redundant–every design attribute has a purpose. The finished product is a beautifully pared back design delivering the luxury of sparkling water, sodas, and bubbly beverages in one iconic minimal piece for the modern kitchen.
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CFDA Award Nominations, Honorees Revealed

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)’s new HQ in lower Manhattan was the setting for last night’s party at which the nominees and honorees for this year’s CFDA Fashion Awards were announced. Will Alexander Wang ride his Balenciaga debut buzz to nab a womenswear win, besting the unstoppable Proenza boys and three-time womenswear winner Marc Jacobs? In the menswear battle of the Brown(e)s, will Thom triumph over Duckie? And how many CFDA award statuettes can fit in a 3.1 Phillip Lim 31-hour bag? Answers will have to wait until this year’s awards ceremony, set for June 3 at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Here’s the full list of nominees and honorees:

Womenswear Designer of the Year Award nominees: Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs, Jack McCollough & Lazaro Hernandez for Proenza Schouler

Menswear Designer of the Year Award nominees: Steven Cox & Daniel Silver for Duckie Brown, Michael Bastian, Thom Browne

Accessory Designer of the Year Award nominees: Phillip Lim for 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Jack McCollough & Lazaro Hernandez for Proenza Schouler

Swarovski Award for Womenswear nominees: Shane Gabier & Christopher Peters for Creatures of the Wind, Carly Cushnie & Michelle Ochs for Cushnie et Ochs, Erin Beatty & Max Osterweis for Suno

Swarovski Award for Menswear nominees: Dao-Yi Chow & Maxwell Osborne for Public School, Tim Coppens, Todd Snyder

Swarovski Award for Accessory Design nominees: Irene Neuwirth, Jennifer Meyer, Pamela Love

Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award: Vera Wang

Media Award: Tim Blanks

Founders Award: Oscar de la Renta

Board of Directors’ Tribute Award: Colleen Atwood

International Award: Riccardo Tisci

James Dyson Award Doubles Prize Money

How do you solve a problem like James Dyson, he of the life-changing vaccuums and bladeless fans? “Put faith in frustrations and solve the problems that cause them,” advises the Norfolk-born industrial designer. “We’re looking for people who rather than accept a problem, go further to design a simple and effective solution.” Such is the premise of the James Dyson Award, a competition open to students studying product design, industrial design, and engineering at the university level (or recent graduates) in 18 countries, including the United States and Canada. Last year’s big winner was Royal College of Art grad Dan Watson‘s SafetyNet, a device to increase the sustainability of fishing:

Inspired yet? Entries open today for the 2013 award, and the prize money has been doubled. Register here to submit footage, images, and sketches of your idea, along with details of your design process and inspiration by the deadline of August 1. The national winners and finalists will be announced this fall after local panels of designers, engineers, and design critics compile their shortlists. Up for grabs is around $150,000 in prize money, including an international prize of $45,000 for the student/team and another $15,000 for his or her school, along with a swell trophy that may well double as a dustbuster.

Design Jobs: Acoustic Guitar, University of Michigan, Williams New York

This week, Acoustic Guitar is hiring a designer, while the University of Michigan is seeking a multimedia designer. Williams New York needs an art director/designer, and The Economist Group is on the hunt for an art director. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

Find more great design jobs on the UnBeige job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented UnBeige pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.