Thursday, February 23, 2017

EXHIBITIONS: London Design Museum does some California dreaming ...

 Spectacles by Snap, Inc.

The innovative and exuberant spirit of California and its design sensibility will
be celebrated at the stylish new London Design Museum, beginning on 
May 24 and running through October 15, 2017. While California’s mid-century 
modernism has been well-documented, California: Designing Freedom 
is the first international show to examine its strong global appeal,
whose essence is exploring the tools of personal liberatioh.

From skateboards to iPhones,
snazzy sunglasses to political posters and LSD blotting paper,
Waymo’s self driving car, the first consumer GPS device
and a replica of the Captain America chopper from Easy Rider,
the exhibition "explores how 'designed in California' expresses a 
distinctive approach to design and life." 
Patent drawing for the geodesic dome courtesy of The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller/Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio - See more at:
Patent drawing for the geodesic dome courtesy of The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller/Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio - See more at:
Patent drawing for the geodesic dome courtesy of The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller/Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio - See more at:
Patent drawing for geodesic dome, R. Buckminster Fuller,
America inventor, architect, and dreamer 

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."

 Black Panther poster, 1968

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 California, Designing Freedom comprises approximately 200 objects, organized into 
five thematic sections. Collectively, these works assert that design in California is distinguished by an emphasis on individual freedom. The Brits seem to remain fascinated by America's spirit of independence and individuality, despite having moved toward a less rule-bound society themselves.

The five sections of the exhibition are organized as follows: 

GO WHERE YOU WANT: Tools of movement and escape
Many of the innovations associated with California, from LA’s freeways to Google Maps, revolve around freedom of movement. This section of the exhibition focuses on mobility, from navigation to portability and exploration. 

Waymo's sef-driving car 


Tools of self-expression and rebellion

California has a unique history of fostering freedom of expression, from from the Berkeley Free Speech movement to new graphic languages and social media. This section explores the state’s culture of communication through posters, magazines and online platforms. 

SEE WHAT YOU WANT: Tools of perception and fantasy
California is of course known as the land of make-believe-- the home of Disney, Hollywood and videogaming. This section explores how California has pioneered new ways of looking at the world, from acid trips to virtual reality. 

Above: LSD blotting paper featuring the lads from Liverpool


Tools of production and self-reliance
Perhaps no place has done more to democratize access to industrial technology than California. This section features tools that have made it easier and more accessible 

to handcraft simple, utilitarian objects. The Whole Earth Catalog
the counterculture’s "bible of self-sufficiency",  
stood at the forefront of the "maker culture."

 Earthrise, by William Anders, an astronaut on Apollo 8 (1968), shot the iconic photo
that was to become the cover of the second and third editions of the catalog.

Tools of collaboration and community
Since the founding of California, the freedom to create your own community has been considered essential to success and survival. From hippie communes to Facebook, this section examines tools that enable communities both on the ground and online. Exhibits include a geodesic dome, Sussman Prejza’s designs for the 1984 LA Olympics and documentation of the early Burning Man festivals. 

Opening ceremonies, 1984 Olympics
Los Angeles 
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Below: Notes on the Design Museum

London's striking new Design Museum, designed by John Pawson,
 opened in late November 2016.

The 10,000 square metre venue, which used to occupy a former 1940s banana warehouse in Shad Thames, was relocated last year to the new building on 
Kensington High Street in west London. The new site is a quick 
walk to the Royal College of Art, the V&A museum, 
the Science Museum and the Serpentine Galleries. 
You could easily spend several days just wandering the neighborhood.

The move is expected to bring in an extra 400,000 visitors each year. 


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

EXHIBITION: Pierre Chareau's Chic Modern Architecture and Design at NYC's elegant Jewish Museum

For the next two months, New York City's elegant Jewish Museum will highlight 
the design work and architecture of noted French artist and arts patron Pierre Chareau. 
Though not quite a household name like his friends Piet Mondrian, Amedeo Modigliani, Jacques Lipchitz, and Max Ernst, Chareau was an internationally recognized artist
who specialized in high-style designs for the film industry during the period 
between World Wars I and II.

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Below: Chareau set designs, c. 1938

Chareau was a man of numerous talents and interests. He collaborated with modernist architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, creating furniture for three French films by director Marcel L’Herbier; opened two shops in Paris in the mid-1920s, one that sold cushions and hand-throws, and the other that sold furniture and lighting; designed stage sets for Edmond Fleg’s production of Merchant of Paris at the Comédie Française in 1929; and hosted salons, together with his wife, Dollie, for the celebrated artists, writers, 
and musicians of his time.

 Above and below:
Chareau is noted for building the first house in France made of 
steel and glass, the famed Maison de Verre (1928-1932).

“No house in France better reflects the magical promise of 20th-century architecture than the Maison de Verre,” then architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote in an August 2007 New York Times article, after having spent a few days at this famed Left Bank abode.

Rendering of the garden of the Maison de Verre, Paris
Courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The Jewish Museum exhibition also addresses Chareau’s life and work in the New York area, created after he left Paris during the German occupation of the city. This includes 
the house he designed for painter Robert Motherwell in 1947 in 
East Hampton, Long Island.

section of the Robert Motherwell house

Bad reviews for this project led to a decline in commissions for the designer, so he 
earned money by giving cooking lessons to wealthy Americans and by 
selling art from his personal collection. Critics!

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 Views from the exhibition Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design
running through March 26, 2017 at The Jewish Museum, NY. 
Photos: Will Ragozzino/

 For more information about this exhibition, link

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 And don't forget to check out the new Russ and Daughters deli
at the museum, a long-awaited and instantly popular addition 
to the uptown Manhattan eating scene.

The Anne: wild Western nova smoked salmon, smoked yellowfin tuna, 
sable, smoked brook trout, and wild Alaskan salmon roe. Photo: Paul Wagtouicz


Friday, February 10, 2017

EXHIBITIONS: All the world's in love with design

From Tokyo to London, Amsterdam to New York,
museum curators have been preparing singular exhibitions for 2017,
shows that will display what they call "The Anatomy of Design".

Think about it ...

In our everyday lives we are surrounded by countless products. These mass-produced, ordinary objects blend in so seamlessly with our lives that we rarely take a thoughtful look at them. But in fact, a great deal of thought goes into them at every stage of their production, with ingenious solutions applied to nearly every element: the materials used to construct them, their flavor, packaging, and total ambiance."Design Anatomy" aims to examine those design elements in detail.

Below: Have a Kinako no Yama, a mushroom-shaped chocolate biscuit.
 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, a Toyko consortium devoted to the study of design,
recently held an exhibition "Design Anatomy: A method for seeing the world through 
familiar objects" that ran through through Jan. 22, 2017. 
 Next year's exhibition will be held February 17, 2017 (Fri) - June 4, 2017 (Sun).
The theme will be "Athlete".

The 2016-2017 show involved looking into the history, market, packaging, quality control, title and graphic-design development, and even the ingredients of items on 
display, offering intensely detailed insights into foods we often take for 
granted. Included in the lineup are Kinako no Yama, those mushroom-shaped 
chocolate biscuits, and Meiji’s milk chocolate bars. (Mio Yamada)

"Measuring G"

Pinkol in Tokyo
(snack food) 

 "Fear And Love" - London Design Museum

"These newly commissioned works explore a spectrum of issues that define our time, including: networked sexuality, sentient robots, slow fashion and settled nomads."

I don't get this description at all, but I love the color combos!