May 22, 2010

Rick Owens on Nowness

“I can’t think of anything more glamorous than working on making beautiful things.”


Nowness has an interview with Rick Owens and an image gallery of his current furniture exhibition, “Pavane for Dead Princess,” at Salon 94.


Again, check out his Rules of Style for Details to get an idea of what he’s about:

1. I’m not good at subtlety. If you’re not going to be discreet and quiet, then just go all the way and have the balls to shave off your eyebrows, bleach your hair, and put on some big bracelets.

2. Working out is modern couture. No outfit is going to make you look or feel as good as having a fit body. Buy less clothing and go to the gym instead.


3. I’ve lived in Paris for six years, and I’m sorry to say that the Ugly American syndrome still exists. Sometimes you just want to say “Stop destroying the landscape with your outfit.” Still, from a design standpoint, I’m tempted to redo the fanny pack. I look at it as a challenge—it’s something to react against.

4. When a suit gets middle-of-the-road it kind of loses me—it has to be sharp and classic and almost forties.


5. Hair and shoes say it all. Everything in between is forgivable as long as you keep it simple. Trying to talk with your clothes is passive-aggressive.

6. There’s something a little too chatterboxy about color. Right now I want black, for its sharpness and punctuation.

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May 4, 2010

Images: Super Deluxx Follow Up

More on the Images (below), as well as several new ones; as always, too much, too much. But seriously, how often do you see something like this.


Hyères, France, 1932 / Magnum

First of all, the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibit at MoMA is really quite remarkable, and I echo Kottke’s rave review (he mentions the image above, which was the first of many that caught my eye).

What he excelled at was seeing things in a different way from most other people.

A Father of Modern Photography: A Hunter and His Prey, The Economist, April 15 2010

The retrospective has a personal resonance on several levels: I’ve become increasingly interested in photography, journalism and photojournalism in the past couple years; his photographs of early and mid-century China are vaguely nostalgic (probably because I recently spent a couple months living in Beijing with my grandparents, who lived through it); and I recognized HCB’s portrait of Sartre from a book cover.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Discovered while eating a turkey hoagie and contemplating the meaning of life at a roadside stand. Also, admit it: he’s cute as a goddamn bug!

–Mike Sacks, Famous Philosophers and How They Were First Discovered,
McSweeney’s, May 2010

(More on HCB at Vanity Fair via 3qd.)

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Liu Bolin at Eli Klein: an excellent show despite the blue-chippy crowd at the opening. It might be more of the same and it probably has a certain loaded cultural content that can only be appreciated as someone who has recently spent time in China, but I would still say that the pieces in On Fire are visually compelling even without the political subtext.


His works have been communicated via emails, blogs, magazines and journals on a massive scale.

Liu Bolin’s earlier Hiding in the City photography series, in which he paints himself into the urban landscape, was inspired by the Chinese government’s demolition of the Suo Jiacun Artist Village in Beijing in 2006. He drew attention to great landmarks in China, both old and modern, while highlighting the lack of recognition which was paid to the citizens that built them. He portrayed the tragedy of the increasing insignificance of the individual in China as the government focused on presenting a modern commercial and industrial image. Rather than trying to fight, people attempted to hide and adapt to these forced changes.

–Liu Bolin’s On Fire press release & additional images via Eli Klein.


Click images for larger versions.


索家村 – Suo Jiacun [Artist's Village] (apparently, Liu Bolin reps it); 中国当代 – Contemporary China


折 – fold, discount, break, bend, snap, lose, roll over, convert, rebate, twist, double up, be convinced, turn back, turn over, lose money in business, change direction, be filled with admiration, suffer losses (Google Translate)

Dude's shirt (bottom right) matches the photograph...

Dude's shirt (bottom right) matches the photograph...

Liu Bolin
On Fire
Eli Klein Fine Art
462 West Broadway (near Houston)
New York NY 10012 [map]
212 / 255-4388
April 30, 2010 – June 4, 2010


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I didn’t make it to the Scott Campbell opening, but it made it into other “emails, blogs, magazines and journals on a massive scale”: TBWE has a nice gallery of the work and the opening; OC has a gallery of the work itself; HB recap; Interview studio visit via HB; Terry stays relevant.

I did make it to Faile & BAST‘s DELUXX FLUXX NYC opening (after stopping by Liu Bolin), but my photos didn’t turn out so well. Again, you can find more/better coverage elsewhere.

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Keith W. Bentley - “Cauda Equina” (1995-2007)

Keith W. Bentley – “Cauda Equina” (1995-2007)

The New York Times has an interesting article on the kind of organic art that is currently on display at the Museum of Arts and Design.


Jan Fabre – "Skull" (2001); Fabián Peña – "The Impossibility of Storage for the Soul I (Self-Portrait)" (2007)

Of course, people have always used natural materials to make their art, for the simple reason that until recently nature was all they had, said Ellen Dissanayake, a scholar on the evolution of art [who notes that] from the beginning, art demanded transformation. “Even in hunter-gatherer societies, they tend to make their stuff look not organic,” she said. “When they’re painting, they’ll use geometric shapes, make a row of triangles or circles, as though to show humans are more than nature.”

As Ms. Dissanayake sees it, when people make art, or “artify,” they follow several “aesthetic principles,” whether they know it or not. “They simplify, repeat, exaggerate, elaborate and manipulate expectations,” she said.

–Natalie Angier, Of Compost, Molecules and Insects, Art Is Born,
The New York Times, May 3 2010

– (2008)

Billie Grace Lynn – "Mad Cow Motorcycle" (2008)

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I didn’t particularly regret missing the Shepard Fairey opening until I saw this:


Animal / TWBE

More Shepard Fairey and many more after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

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April 22, 2010

The Second Tallest Building On Earth


This super-tall, 632-meter tower will be sited in the heart of Shanghai’s Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone, adjacent to the Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center. As the most prominent icon on the city’s skyline, Shanghai Tower’s transparent spiral form will showcase cutting-edge sustainable strategies and public spaces that set a new standard for green community. Within its 128-stories, Shanghai Tower contains Class-A office space, entertainment venues, retail, a conference center, a luxury hotel and cultural amenity spaces. The tower will be registered for a high level of building certification from the China Green Building Committee and the U.S. Green Building Council.

–Gensler, Shanghai Tower


For reference: the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is 828m. Wikipedia has more on the Tallest Buildings in the World, if you’re so inclined.


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April 7, 2010

New Bike Tech has a new interview with the guys behind Outlier, who craft cyclable basics.

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Benedict Radcliffe Graffiti Bike = The Art of Going Brakeless / Instant Morris Louis


Viktor Vautier via Juxtapoz.

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I’m not surprised to hear that electric bikes are all the rage in China: I remember seeing countless two-wheeled contraptions that had some kind of ad hoc outboard motor strapped to them. In fact, I passed an old Chinese dude riding an electric bike across the Manhattan Bridge just the other day…


Of course, besides legal issues, GOOD points out that electric bikes represents a stepping stone between traditional transportation (bicycles) and an emerging middle class aspiring to Western ideals of status (electrics automobiles)—an intermediate space in a rapidly developing economy that is nonexistent in our car-dominated nation.

The Economist via GOOD. Also on NYT.

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April 5, 2010

Cartographic Design


Matthew Picton‘s sculptures are right up my alley: he makes roadmaps into art.

DB; more at Toomey-Tourell.


Claire Burbridge & Matthew Picton
Absence and Presence
Toomey-Tourell Fine Art
49 Geary Street [map]
San Francisco, CA 94108
415 / 989-6444
Through May 1, 2010
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Connie Brown NYC map

Connie Brown makes detailed, vintage-y (not to mention pricey) custom maps. She’s giving at talk at NYPL on April 10th. Much more info (and images) at NGS, linked below.

National Geographic Society via Boingboing.

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The Times has an interactive feature on taxi pick-ups (in Manhattan), a nice to their piece on taxi traffic and, by extension, Jonah Lehrer’s musings on commuting. Now if only there was some way to track the Cash Cab…

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April 5, 2010

Obligatory iPad Post

*Updated on 4/7.


So I happened to be in Midtown on Saturday morning (long story short: I was trying to get to MoMA early enough to see Marina Abramović) and I decided to swing by the cube.

While I didn’t have a chance to see the iPad in person, I’ll probably swing by an Apple store some time this week to check it out. I don’t plan on getting one at this point but I’m intrigued by the device, which may or may not revolutionize computing and media consumption as we know it. If the iPad has been criticized for being some kind of hedonistic Swiss Army Knife for entertainment at the cost of productivity (citation needed?), I should think that it is rightfully billed as more of a grown-up supertoy than anything else—it is neither overgrown iPhone nor underpowered laptop; the iPad is something else entirely.

Furthermore, insofar as the iPad represents Apple’s foray into the space(s) currently occupied by netbooks, e-books, textbooks, regular books, magazines, newspapers, television, digital picture frames, portable gaming devices, board games, and (lest we forget) tablets, I think it has the potential to redefine media in new and possibly unexpected ways. The fact that it is an easy point of entry for a mass audience to own a piece of the Apple brand (/marketing machine) almost certainly belies its true significance, whatever that may be.


Of course, I suppose that anyone who is curious about said significance has already been inundated with news, reviews, photos, videos, etc.—the iPad has been broken, jailbroken, jailbait, photoshopped and photo-opped—from the likes of Engadget, Gizmodo, TUAW, et al. Love it or hate it, we’re far past the point of making jokes about its name.

For superbly-curated and less overwhelming opinions and aggregation, I recommend John Gruber’s Daring Fireball. Similarly, I still think that Dan Hill’s essay on the iPad is the best analysis of the its true significance (I buried a link to it in another post, but here it is again).

There are tons of demo (and demolition) videos already out there, but I happen to like this overview of magazine app art direction:

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April 3, 2010

New Coke


Industrial designer Andrew Kim has come up with a concept for an eco-friendly (or greenwashed, if you’re cynical) Coca-Cola bottle. (DB)


See also: Harc Lee’s green(er) monochrome Coke can.


Meanwhile, Karl Lagerfeld has come up with a concept for a fashion-friendly Coca-Cola bottle:

colette via HB

Finally, as an HTML/CSS designer, this “Pure CSS Coke Can” never ceases to amaze me:

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March 22, 2010

Symbolic Acquisition

Last year, Klaus Biesenbach extended MoMA’s permanent collection of performance art beyond video & photo documentation to the performance itself, a move that foreshadowed the current Marina Abramovic retrospective. (It’s quite good, at least for someone who has had nominal exposure to her work. Highly recommended.)


Today, in what they are regarding as a similar move, MoMA expands its definition of design—or perhaps its role as an arbiter of design—by celebrating the ‘acquisition’ of the @ (at) sign, imbuing the symbol with a new layer of meaning as it becomes “art object befitting MoMA’s collection.” In other words, if the ‘@’ sign “does not declare itself a work of design,” then it is befitting, if not altogether necessary for the institution to do so, knowingly asserting itself as a conceptual creator à la Duchamp.

I don’t know how I feel about the smug implication that MoMA is doing us a favor by sharing this design gem with the world—the ‘@’ sign isn’t quite the same as, say, a UNESCO World Heritage Site—but it’s nice of them to share its history and significance (without mentioning Twitter).

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March 18, 2010

Why There Are Mountains

» Fuck Buttons – Space Mountain (8:45) – 13.2MB mp3 @ 210kbps

» The Flaming Lips – Worm Mountain (5:22) – 6.3MB mp3 @ 160kbps


Zhou Hongjun and Xiong Lu have created Hermit Mountain, a multifaceted, multipurpose skyscraper, drawing inspiration from both traditional Chinese culture and modern design. The design explores a dialogue between rationality and chaos to achieve a refined yet altogether organic aesthetic.

More images at Designboom.


Designer Enrico Dini has developed a 3D printer that makes rocks.

Dini claims the d-shape process is four times faster than conventional building, costs a third to a half as much as using Portland cement, creates little waste and is better for the environment. But its chief selling point may simply be that it makes creating Gaudiesque, curvy structures simple.

Two-dimensional print may be dead, but 3D is on the up-and-up.

Full story at Blueprint (FastCompany via Inhabitat)



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March 13, 2010

Psychic City

» Modest Mouse – Tiny Cities Made of Ashes (3:42) – 4.3MB mp3 @ 160kbps

Director & VFX artist Sam O’Hare has just completed a short film using time-lapse tilt-shift technology to create the illusion of a miniature New York City. The Sandpit is really quite amazing—I recommend viewing it in fullscreen HD.

I’m not quite clear on how the film was created, even after reading this brief interview on how the film was created, but, as with so many other Internet rabbitholes, Kottke simultaneously introduced me to Koyaanisqatsi, a landmark 1982 art film by Godfrey Reggio and Ron Fricke with an original score by Philip Glass (viewable in full on Hulu), as an obvious reference point for O’Hare.


Meanwhile, an unidentified student at Kyoto University of Art & Design has transformed several home appliances into tiny cities.

Spoon & Tamago via Swiss Miss


8-Bit NYC is perhaps the polar opposite of the beautiful works of video and sculpture above, but it’s pleasantly diverting nonetheless.


What the hell, I love this song: YACHT – Psychic City (5:09) – 9.8MB mp3 @ 262kbps

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