this is a private blog for my design students and assorted other survivors. Tro blemakers all
this is a private blog for my design students and assorted other survivors. Tro blemakers all.
this is a private blog for my design students and assorted other survivors. Tro blemakers all.
this is a private blog for my design students and assorted other survivors. Tro blemakers all.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

live from Beaverton Oregon ... a primer on Ergonomics

" Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific
discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data, and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system perform"

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Since its inception in the early 1970's, Nike has been at the avant garde of the art and business of ergonomics. In 1972, when it first introduced the waffle soled running shoe, it re-defined sports wear, brand indentification and product marketing for both the athlete and fashionista forever.

Now a huge multi-national corporate beast, Nike originally began focused on the critical, and symbionic relationship - between man and its non-biological support systems (in this case shoes etc.). Nike has done for sports wear, what Apple has done for computers - innovatively expressed, rapaciously marketed and in the process, enthusiastically re-invented form and function.

The crucial relationship of tools to the living forms which use them - lays at the basis of ergonomics. Jonathon Ive's celebrated designs for the iMac and iPod are some of the most creative, yet functional industrial designs in recent years.

His latest work for Apple, includes this recent iPod system. In which, a small plastic monitoring device, about half then size of an egg - nestles seamlessly, unfelt (zero footprint) into the sole of a running shoe. The inserted device transmits wirelessly - heart rate, distance & time data to your iPod.... oh ... and music as well. Can you say cybernetics ?

don't forget your essay ! yes, that one, ... " design as an agent of Social Change" ..

Monday, November 27, 2006

check this out ...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Set during the time of Mao’s China, (circa 1949 to 1976) - in a lush and remote village, this beautiful novel communicates the extraordinary power of literature, and how it can free people to explore places that they never knew existed. This jacket design evokes the mood of that period to perfection. Consider how the clours and textforms are so eloquently woven into le sentiment du temps.

click to clarify

Jacket designer: Gabriele Wilson
Art director: Carol Devine Carson
Typefaces: Bell Gothic, Escrita
Paper: Baffy­Ville
Author: Dai Sijie

some rather Handsome bookcover designs ( sorry, couldn't resist )

Illustrator: Jon Gray
Production director: Bill McCormick
Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
Trim size: 6.125 x 9.25 inches
Compositor: Jon Gray
Typeface: Hand lettered

Jacket designer: Rodrigo Corral
Photographer: Fredrik Broden
Author: James Frey
Trim size: 6­1/8 x 9­1/4”
Paper: 100 lb. jacket stock coated 1 side

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

enjoy the lovely illustrations and mordent wit of W. Lynn Garrett
as she hoists designers on their own petard

for a good time .......

Monday, November 20, 2006

the remarkable french illustrator and book designer - clicqaux aux enlargeaux

to visit his web site

things most remarkable No.2
for extra marks - identify each
object or person, beyond the
meerly obvious.

hints: 1. a reluctant surrealist 2. every step a lotus

we have a winner ! both Joseph and Chanel, bravo !

Sunday, November 19, 2006

New York City Field Trip April 06
el clicko a enlargo

Met Won’t Show a Grosz at Center of a Dispute

Published: November 15, 2006

In response to an ownership dispute, the Metropolitan Museum of Art says it has decided not to borrow a painting by George Grosz from the Museum of Modern Art for an exhibition of German Expressionist portraits that opened yesterday.

“The Poet Max Herrmann-Neisse” (1927), by George Grosz.
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The artist’s estate argues that it is the rightful owner of the 1927 portrait of the poet Max Hermann-Neise, & another work by Grosz in MoMA’s collection. MoMA, which has been discussing the issue with the estate for three years, counters that it has thoroughly investigated the claim and has concluded that it has no legal basis.

Rather than the 1927 painting, the Met is featuring a 1925 portrait that Grosz painted of Herrmann-Neisse, borrowed from the St├Ądtische Kunsthalle in Mannheim, Germany, in the exhibition “Glitter and Doom: German Portraits From the 1920s,” which opened yesterday.

“We don’t want to be in the middle of any challenges or discussions,” said Harold Holzer, a spokesman for the Met. “It seemed more prudent to have the earlier version.” The Grosz estate has not taken legal action against MoMA, although the estate’s managing director, Ralph Jentsch, said in an interview that he was considering it.

“It’s our property,” said Mr. Jentsch, who says he was appointed to his post by Grosz’s two sons, Peter and Martin, in 1994. (The elder son, Peter, died in September at 80.) “It doesn’t belong to MoMA.” According to correspondence provided by the estate, it first advanced its claim to the two paintings in a letter to MoMA on Nov. 24, 2003. Mr. Jentsch argued that they were sold without the consent of the artist, who had consigned them to an art dealer, Alfred Flechtheim, in 1928-29.

Both Grosz and Flechtheim fled Germany in the face of Nazi persecution, the letter noted. (Grosz’s art and politics were viewed as unpalatable by the regime, and Mr. Flechtheim was Jewish.) The artist left a few weeks before the Nazis came to power in 1933, Mr. Jentsch wrote, “and Flechtheim fled to Paris when his gallery in Berlin was confiscated” afterward. Mr. Jentsch said that the Herrmann-Neisse portrait was confiscated by the Nazis in 1933 at the Flechtheim Gallery in Berlin and that it reappeared in 1952, when it was bought by the Modern for $850 from Charlotte Weidler, a German immigrant.

He says the other disputed painting, “Self-Portrait With a Model” from 1928, was sold for $10 in 1938 “at a deceitful auction” in Amsterdam to which it was consigned by Mr. Flechtheim.

MoMA acquired the self-portrait in 1954 as a gift from the children’s author and illustrator Leo Lionni, who had tried to auction it shortly before. (It did not meet its $110 reserve price, auction records show.) “As these Grosz works would not have been lost if Flechtheim and Grosz had not had to flee Germany in order to save their lives, the George Grosz Estate claims restitution,” Mr. Jentsch wrote.

But MoMA says that Ms. Weidler sold the Herrmann-Neisse portrait through a dealer who was a longtime friend of Grosz and that the artist was aware that the Modern had acquired it. The museum says Alfred Barr, MoMA’s founding director and a friend of Grosz’s, even invited the artist to sign the canvas.

“Republican Automatons,” a 1920 watercolor by Grosz at MoMA; the work’s provenance is still being researched by the artist’s estate.

It also questions why Grosz, who died in 1959, failed to ask that the Herrmann-Neisse portrait be returned when he saw it at the museum. But Mr. Jentsch said, “What was he supposed to do, walk in there and say, ‘That’s my painting’?” Mr. Jentsch also quoted from a letter in German that he said Grosz wrote to his brother-in-law in 1953: “The Modern Museum exhibited a stolen painting of mine. (I am powerless.) They bought it from someone who has stolen it.”

Although Mr. Jentsch originally sought the restitution of a third work by Grosz, the 1920 watercolor “Republikanische Automaten” (or “Republican Automatons”), he said he later determined that the provenance of the 1920 watercolor required more research.

In MoMA’s first response to the estate, dated Dec. 4, 2003, Glenn D. Lowry, the museum’s director, wrote: “I take the matters you raise very seriously, and I have directed my staff to treat this as a matter of the highest priority.” At one point Mr. Lowry suggested to Mr. Jentsch that the museum and the estate share ownership of the paintings for a period of 5 or 10 years, while ownership was in dispute. If no determination were ultimately made, he suggested, the two could share custody in perpetuity.

“Before we remove a work from the museum’s collection,” Mr. Lowry said in a July 2005 letter to Mr. Jentsch, “we need to establish convincing and conclusive evidence that another party — in this instance the estate of George Grosz — has ownership rights superior to the museum’s.”

In January 2006, as discussions seemed to be approaching an impasse, MoMA asked Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, a former attorney general and undersecretary of state in the Johnson administration, to conduct an independent investigation to assess the claim. Three months later Mr. Katzenbach recommended that MoMA reject the claim.

“There is nothing in the record — nor does Mr. Jentsch indicate any facts — suggesting any bad faith, negligence or questionable conduct at any time by anyone connected with MoMA,” his report said. Mr. Katzenbach noted that when Grosz saw the Herrmann-Neisse portrait at the museum, he did not ask that it be returned or that he be compensated. Had he done so, the report added, “not only would the museum have had the opportunity to ascertain the facts when they were still reasonably fresh and knowable, but it would have had the opportunity to resolve the matter then and there at relatively little cost to it.”

This is not the first time Grosz works have been the subject of controversy. The Grosz estate filed a lawsuit in 1995 against the Manhattan art dealer Serge Sabarsky, arguing that Mr. Sabarsky had deprived the estate of appropriate compensation for the sale of hundreds of Grosz works he had acquired. The lawsuit was settled last summer.

Although Mr. Jentsch agreed to cooperate with Mr. Katzenbach’s inquiry, he rejects his conclusion, partly because, he says, Mr. Katzenbach failed to translate some of the German documents Mr. Jentsch had given him Mr. Jentsch said he was meeting with lawyers and would decide by the end of the month whether to file a court challenge. If his bid to recover the paintings were to succeed, he added, he would display them in a new Grosz museum he hopes to found and direct.

If the portrait of Herrmann-Neisse were put up for auction today, it would probably fetch about $2 million, market experts say. But Mr. Jentsch said, “We’re not interested in making money.”

George Grosz’s “Self-Portrait With a Model” (1928),
one of two works at MoMA to which the artist’s estate
has laid claim for several years.

Monday, November 13, 2006

things most remarkable No.1
for extra marks - identify each
object or person, beyond the
meerly obvious.

hints - 1.a family affair 2.Somerset
second hints, you losers - 1. Thomas and Josiah
2. loved Tahiti

We have a winner ... oops ... I've forgotten ... more later

Saturday, November 11, 2006

1918 Toronto, Bay and King streets Armistice Day

click for more clarity

Armistice Day
is the anniversary of the official end of World War I, November 11, 1918. It commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at Compi├Ęgne, France, for the end of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning — the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month." While this official date to mark the end of the war reflects the ceasefire on the Western Front, hostilities continued in other regions, especially across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottoman Empire.

They had hoped, it was the war to end all wars ...

In some ways the visual Arts and in particular Graphic design, have long played a pivitol role in the mechanisms of War. Propaganda, has always been used - for good or for bad, to articulate a nation's motivations, to define or defile an enemy, or to incite a nation to Peace or to War. here are a few examples from the First World War.

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for more information about the First World War go to
two beautifully strange photographs by the young German photographer Loretta Lux. They're both interesting studies in colour and light, and clearly intended to be surreal. The boy, with his baroque fluted 17th.century collar, could easily be a fugitive from a Spanish Court painting by Velazquez, except that the light, clothing and manner - is mid-america 1960's and reminds me of those old, faded family photos.The light and sense of place in both images, is tentative, and the lighting is similarily contradictory - both washed out,and vivid at the same time ? ( I dont know she does it ? ) Simple subjects and an exceptional command of light and composition.

to see more
On June 10th 1947, SAAB showed the world the car's prototype, but the first run of 20 cars did not leave the factory until the Summer of 1949. Full scale production wasn't until December and the car was available in only one color: green. Directional arrows were standard but lights were optional!.

The Saab 92 had a two cylinder, 2 stroke, 28 hp engine. ( rather small I guess, but no doubt enthusiastic.) but...

The extremely aerodynamic shape, gave the car a superb drag coefficient of 0.35. One rather odd thing, about this lovely car, was the absence of a boot (trunk) lid. Access to the luggage compartment which also contained the battery, .. of course.. was thru the back seat. An improved model, the 92B was introduced in the Autumn of 1952.

But do note dear students, that there's a elemental difference between the sinuous lines of Art Deco & Art Nouveau - and the stylistic innovations of Machine Age streamlining.

Art Deco and Art Nouveau were both of European birth, and both presumed an aristocratic consumer, knowledgeable about styles and the earlier high arts, and who were largely predisposed to favour handcrafted productss, and ornate rare materials; the other, Streamlining on the other hand, was largely an American invention, and aimed at the widest possible public, and built on its admiration for industry and its enchantment with all forms of speed.

Champions of Art Deco, found it expressed in expensive public buildings and fashionable private collections. Streamlining rather, was egalitarian, adding modern beauty to useful designs--from lamps to Mixmasters to the most excellent 1950's Edsel --priced for everyone.

One characterized decorative arts in the 1920s, the other dominated industrial design in the 1930s and beyond. The rise of streamlining and twilight of art deco in the United States were hastened by the stock market crash.

It was also apparent by the mid 1930's that the world of tomorrow, embraced not opulent material rarities like rosewood and macassar, but aluminum and plastics, and it belonged more to, not artists in their studios but industrial designers in factories, not to connoisseurs in small esoteric shops, but free-spending mass consumers. Apart from their preference for metallic surfaces and the disdain they inspired in functionalists, art deco and streamlining had little in common.

remember your Streamlined Decade assignment !

Friday, November 10, 2006

would you like tea with your Kitty ?

Alfons Mucha was a very influential designer
in his time, but is rarely noted in the chronicles
of art history. He, likely more than anyone else,
is responsible for the "art nouveau" style that
developed around the turn of the 2o th. century
in western Europe. Mucha applied his considerable
talents, to a wide array of design pursuits which
included: painting, sculpture, poster and magazine
design as well as product and architectural design.

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bloody good advice even today ! Ha ..! an American Govt. "civil defence" advertising initative - circa 1920's - trying to inform the indifferent .. Yo Dude .. - where my soap ? Sterling proof that design should not be attempted by committee, or idle bureaucrats looking for a buzz.

for a chuckle, click to enlarge
the extraordinary Joris Hoefnagel

" Self-taught artist Joris Hoefnagel was a pivotal figure in the history of art from the Netherlands, both as the last important Flemish manuscript illuminator and one of the first artists to work in the new genre of still life."

A true Renaissance man, Hoefnagel wrote Latin poetry, mastered several languages, played a variety of musical instruments, and sold drawings, in addition to making topographical drawings, maps, oil paintings, and

Born to wealthy merchant parents, Hoefnagel traveled to England, France, and Spain in his youth, recording his experiences in topographical, anatomic and naturalistic drawings.

Many of these were later used as models for a six-volume atlas.
In the autumn of 1577, after Spanish troops had invaded Antwerp, Hoefnagel journeyed south with the cartographer Abraham Ortelius.

During this trip, Albert V, duke of Bavaria, ( no not the Duke of Earl) hired Hoefnagel as a court artist.

It was at this time that Hoefnagel completed his first major work, a multi-volume book of natural history miniatures.

In 1591, Hoefnagel was appointed court artist to Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, a collector known not just for his art but for his Kunstkammer, or cabinet of curiosities.

For Rudolf, Hoefnagel again demonstrated his astounding technical facility when he added illuminations to a manuscript completed thirty years earlier by the celebrated scribe Georg Bocskay.

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