Welcome to Mad for Mod!


Welcome to Mad for Mod!

My blog highlights trends in jazzy modernist design -- from soap to sofas, buildings to bags -- and is my way of staying in touch with the worldwide community of 20th century design aficionados. Notes about museum exhibitions and design festivals, book reviews, remembrances, features on objects of desire, and occasional oddball items will appear on no set schedule. Please visit often to find new surprises!
Enjoy  ~ ° ° ° ~  Judy

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! 



Friday, February 3, 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!

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

 For more information about this exhibition, link

 °     °     °     °     °     °     °     °
 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


Monday, December 12, 2016

ODD BITS: Pantone announces 2017 Color of the Year

This coming year, optimism and the desire to live in greater harmony with our environment will supersede chic and drama in Pantone's Color of the Year. And the 2017 winner is ...

GREENERY (color #15-0343) 

GREENERY opened to mixed reviews in the Twitterverse.
"Pea soup for 2017?" read one tweet, while another asked "Have we gone back to the 1970's?" But other commenters were more positive, saying that the tinge of yellow
in the color makes it hopeful and festive, and that the chosen color was
not a variant of blue or red, which they had 
had quite enough of during election season.  

“We know what kind of world we are living in: one that is very stressful and very tense,” Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone Color Institute’s executive director, said in an interview. 
“This is the color of our connection to nature. It speaks to what we call the ‘re’ words: regenerate, refresh, revitalize, renew. Every spring, we enter a new cycle, and new shoots come from the ground. It is something life affirming to look forward to.”

GREENERY lends itself to use in room interiors (the indoor garden look),
 textiles and fashion (it goes with nearly everything), car design (the new 
Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster comes in a particularly
eye-catching shade of leaf green), and furniture. 

Haute House Tiffany Damask Chair.

Dior’s new makeup colors include a lip shade called “clover", which should
match up nicely with that green-colored juice (kale smoothies?) that everyone
seems to be drinking these days.

 "Green Monster" smoothie
It's a health drink, it's a lotion, it's a floor polish

“There’s a Japanese concept called ‘forest bathing,’ which says that when you are feeling stressed, one of the best things to do is go walk in the forest,” Ms. Eiseman said. “But if you can’t do that, what can you do? Bring green into your environment. Put in on your body, or in your house or near your desk. That symbolic message is very important.”

Or, in the immortal words  of Kermit the Frog ...

... green is the color of Spring.
And green can be cool and friendly-like.
And green can be big like the ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree.
When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder? 
Why wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful!
And I think it's what I want to be.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

ODD BITS: The passing of high-spirited beehive creator Margaret Vinci Heldt

From Audrey Hepburn to Ronnie Spector, Brigitte Bardot to Elizabeth Taylor,
Amy Winehouse to Adele, many celebrities and creative women owe 
their signature looks to celebrated Chicago hairdresser Margaret Vinci Heldt, 
who passed away recently at the age of 98.

Heldt designed the unforgettable "beehive" hairdo in 1959 when
trade magazine Modern Beauty Shop asked her to come up
with something unique to feature in its February 1960 issue.

 "Ratted, sprayed and shellacked, able to jump half a foot in height in a single salon 
appointment, her conical creation meant that Chicago, for a time, 
stole away the title John Waters gave to Baltimore: 
Hairdo Capitol of the World.”
                                                                                                ... Chicago Sun-Times 6/13/16 

 °     °     °     °     °     °     °     °     °

 Ronnie Spector (above left), lead singer of  superstar girl group The Ronettes, 
was perhaps the most celebrated beehive-wearer of her era.

 Elvis was quite a fan of the style, so his wife Priscilla -- already known 
for her big hair -- adopted it for a while.

°     °     °     °     °     °     °     °     ° 
 Great ladies of the silver screen loved the beehive:
                          Audrey Hepburn

 Brigitte Bardot

                                                                                                                      Elizabeth Taylor

°     °     °     °     °     °     °     °     °

   Beloved late singer Amy Winehouse brought the beehive 
   back into style in the 21st century.

And Adele keeps it going, in a more gentle manner ...

°     °     °     °     °     °     °     °     ° 
And of course the ladies of Mad Men wore the "do" to maximum effect ...

  Feisty office manager/ eventual partner
   Joan Holloway 

                                        Betty Draper went all out trying to get a little more attention from  
                                                                       her wandering husband Don in this get-up.   

~ oOo ~
 But the award for the tallest beehive of them all goes to ...

 Marge Simpson!

°     °     °     °     °     °     °     °     °
Margaret Vinci Heldt remained high-spirited and effervescent through her entire life.
She marveled at the fact that she had created an iconic hairdo, and become so
widely recognized in her profession. The Chicago History Museum proudly displays
a model of the beehive hairdo (complete with appropriate hairpin) in its collection. 

She loved performing, which she often did at cosmetology conventions. 
In the photo below, she's wearing a “Hello, Dolly!” costume 
lent to her by her client, Carol Channing.
 “I have love in my heart for hairdressers,” Ms. Vinci Heldt told the Chicago Sun-Times 
in 2002. “I was privileged to give something to our profession that became a classic.”
But, she added, “I don’t know how we could have done it without hairspray.”
Link here for a more complete bio of
Ms. Vinci Heldt, from the Chicago Sun Times

originally published 6/14/16

Monday, November 28, 2016

EXHIBITIONS: Neue Galerie NY presents must-see show: "Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900-1918"

There's no doubt that artist Gustav Klimt was enchanted by the ladies,
especially those of Vienna’s Golden Age. There he held court over the city's 
art world and its society matrons, like a sovereign over his personal dominion.

Photo c. 1917

Neue Galerie NY is currently showcasing numerous works from
the period of Klimt's ascendancy in an exhibition that includes approximately
12 paintings, 40 drawings, 40 works of decorative art (jewelry and furniture,

some designed by other Wiener Werkstätte artists such as 
Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser), and vintage photographs of the artist, 
drawn from public and private collections worldwide.

These works "cover the gamut of Klimt’s portrait style, from his early ethereal works influenced by Symbolism and the Pre-Raphaelite movement, to his 
so-called 'golden style,' as well as his almost Fauvist depictions."
                                                                         ...  Curator's note

Portrait of Ria Munk III, 1917 (unfinished)

See Christie's website for a detailed
description of this fascinating woman and the
story of her radiant portrait.

°     °     °     °     °     °     °      °
The paintings in the current Neue Galerie NY show, according to art historian 
Jill Lloyd, represent "chic, modern women who belong to a world of 
elegance and luxury, they also have the effect of exoticizing and 
etherealizing their subjects." As Lloyd observes in her catalog essay, 
"They seem both women of their time and timeless symbols of 
femininity, at once contemporary and archaic."

Below: Portrait of Szerena Lederer, 1899
Szerena Pulitzer Lederer was known in her youth as a great beauty,
and later in life as a fine art collector and Grande Dame of Viennese society. 
She was born into a wealthy Jewish family, much like many of the 
patrons of Klimt's art. Klimt and Szerena were rumored to be lovers, 
with a daughter Elizabeth who was the product of their union.

The Lederer collection was confiscated from Szerena in 1940 and she fled to Budapest, 
where she died three years later. The Gestapo transferred the collection to 
Immerdorf Castle, subsequently setting it on fire in May, 1945 
so that it would not fall into the hands of the Allies. 
The collection was destroyed.

°     °     °     °     °     °     °     °
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907
Ah, the glorious Golden Adele. She is probably the best known
and most loved of Klimt's portraits. Ronald Lauder,
founder of the Neue Galerie, was instrumental in the
return of this painting from the government
of Austria to Adele's niece Maria Altmann, its rightful owner.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II, 1912
This portrait of Adele was done five years later than #1.
It appears that by this time, their love affair had cooled,
but their friendship endured.
 She was the only model to be painted twice by Klimt.

°     °     °      °      °      °      °      °

Portrait of Mäda Primavesi, 1912

Miss Primavesi, an assertive, spirited girl, is depicted here at the age of nine.
Klimt did numerous preliminary sktches for the portrait, wanting to perfect 
his subject's attitudinal pose and the delightful background motifs.
Mäda's parents, Otto and Eugenia, were sophisticated
members of fin-de-siecle Vienna society, and ardent supporters of 
progressive Viennese art and design.

Above: Portrait of Gertha Loew, 1902

"The beautiful girl swathed in white gossamer was Gertrud Loew, the 
19-year-old daughter of Anton Loew, a celebrated physician who ran a
 private sanatorium beside his palatial home in Vienna, 
where his patients included composer Gustav Mahler 
and philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein."
                                                                                                 ... The Guardian, June 2015 
When first exhibited in 1903, the portrait was described by one critic as 
"the most sweet scented poetry the palette is able to create.”

Like nearly all of these singular Klimt portraits, this one was
looted by the Nazis and only recently returned to its rightful owners. 

Above: Portrait of Elisabeth Lederer, 1914

"The influence of fashion design among society women in fin-de-siècle Vienna also plays a key role in the installation. Shanghai-based artist and designer Han Feng has been commissioned to create three one-of-a-kind fashion ensembles inspired by prevailing styles of artistic reform dress and the designs of Emilie Flöge, an important Viennese fashion designer and Klimt’s muse. Special hats and style accessories by paper artist Brett McCormack also adorn full-scale mannequins located throughout the show."
                                                                                                                    ... Curator's note

Visit the Neue Galerie NY's website for more information.This show runs through January 16, 2017.