Sol LeWitt Documentary

Artist Sol LeWitt is the subject of a documentary by Dutch filmmaker, Chris Teerink. The film opened in New York City in May 2014, and according to A.O.Scott of the New York Times Web site, “A gratifying amount of the film’s compact running time [is devoted to] looking at witty, building-block structures in the middle of urban parks and plazas.” For more on the documentary visit www.sollewittfilm.org.

Read Sol LeWitt’s biography.

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Silly Saturday: The Truth About Hello Kitty & Other Popular Animated Charaters

Originally introduced in 1974 by the Japanese toy company Sanrio1, Hello Kitty has burgeoned from a cute whimsical graphic to an international marketing powerhouse. Hello Kitty has just celebrated its 40th anniversary and now adorns everything from pencil cases to automatic weapons.

New Yorker contributor, Colin Stokes has some fun investigating the identities of Hello Kitty a few other animated characters you may recognize.  Here’s part of Stokes’ take on Mickey Mouse:

Mickey Mouse is not a mouse. If you look very closely at him, you can see that he wears gloves. Mice do not have the capability, nor the desire, to put gloves on their hands.

Read the New Yorker post.

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Open kitchen at first “Hello Kitty” licensed restaurant in Asia.
Photo credit: ©2014 Nicole Pang/CNN Source

Reference

1. Del Barco, M. “Hello Kitty Hooks Generations On Cute, Kitsch”. National Public Radio. 2010-12-03.http://www.npr.org/2010/12/03/131755914/hello-kitty-hooks-generations-on-cute-kitsch

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Sculpture for the Body: The Work of Art Smith

The Dallas Museum of Art is currently running an exhibit of sculptural jewelry by Twentieth Century jewelry design pioneer Art Smith. The show features Smith’s work along with several of his contemporaries, artists who were influenced by the biomorphic forms employed by sculptors such as Isamu Noguchi and Alexander Calder.

Art Smith Jewelry
Art Smith, Modern Cuff (c. 1948).
Photo (right): Peter Bausch (c. 1948) © Brooklyn Museum. Source.

According to Uncreated, the Dallas Museum of Art’s blog, The DMA “this year we will not only feature the work of Art Smith but also, … make plans for future exhibitions of jewelry and other design arts.”

The exhibition, From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith runs now through December 7, 2014 at the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, Texas.

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The Shanghai Dress

In this video clip, Chinese-American fashion designer Jane Zhu discusses her study of the Qipao (pronounced chee-pow) dress and how the garment influences her current dress designs.

The Qipao was originally developed and worn by the Manchu in the 17th Century. Overtime the shapeless tube-like garment evolved into the present style which gained widespread popularity throughout China in the 1920s and 1930s.1Anna May Wong a popular motion picture actress of the period is shown here wearing a modern Qipao.

For more on the history of the Qipao dress, visit my-quipao.com.

Anna May Wong
Nickolas Murray, Anna May Wong (1937), color print, assembly process.
George Eastman House Still Photography Archive. Source.

Reference

  1. Guan, P., (2003). Chinese dress Qipao / Cheongsam: History and legend http://www.my-qipao.com/qipaofct_engl/qipaofc1.html
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Silly Saturday: Architect Humor Slide Show

Sit back and enjoy this slide show of architect humor compiled by the folks at the Australian firm, BXL Design Architects.

Check out more serious architecture videos, on the  BXL Design Architects’ You Tube channel.

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Albert Paley: Swirls of Steel

The Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Web site calls Albert Paley, “one of the world’s most distinguished metalsmiths.” During his more than 50 year career Paley has worked at all scales from jewelry to large public installations and in a varied range of metals: steel, brass, iron, copper, gold to name a few.1

Paley’s public installations include the gateway at the St. Louis Zoo, portals at the New York State Senate in Albany, doors to the book store at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, and a gate at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.2

In 1995, Paley was awarded awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Institute of Architects, the AIA’s highest award to a non-architect. He is the only metalsmith to have received that award.1

A retrospective of Albert Paley’s work, "American Metal: The Art of Albert Paley" can been viewed now through September 28, 2014 at The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

For more on the artist and his work visit the Albert Paley Studios site.

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Albert Paley, Pendant (1973), silver, ivory, plexiglas, copper, gold, amethyst beads, glass lens, opal, moonstone and amethyst crystal.
Photo credit: © 2014 Paley Studios Source

References

  1. Corcoran Gallery of Art (2014). American Metal: The Art of Albert Paley, http://www.corcoran.org/exhibitions/american-metal-art-albert-paley
  2. National Public Radio (2014). With Swirls Of Steel, These Sculptures Mark The Passage Of People And Time, http://www.npr.org/2014/07/22/333596118/with-swirls-of-steel-these-sculptures-mark-the-passage-of-people-and-time
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A Short History of Electric Cars

With ever-rising gas prices and greater concerns about our environment, electric and hy-brid motor vehicles are gaining popularity. We may think of these automobiles as a recent development but, earlier this year, Design News posted an interesting slideshow of the history of electric cars which were designed in the late Nineteenth Century and throughout the Twentieth.

Thomas EdisonThomas Edison (left) and an electric automobile that used one of his nickel-iron batteries (c. 1910). Source.

Pictured here we see that even American inventor Thomas Edison had designed a version of an electric car. In a 1911 interview with the New York Times, Edison stated that the vehicle’s battery “is simple, light, easy to take care of, and far more efficient than the old lead battery. It has none of the disadvantages of the latter, which resulted in bringing electric transportation into such disfavor abroad.”

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Closed for 25 Years Staten Island’s Paramount Theatre Survives

Nick Carr of ScoutingNY.com takes a fascinatingly beautiful, yet eerie photo tour of Staten Island’s Paramount Theatre. According to Carr, the Paramount, which opened in 1930, was Staten Island’s most elaborate movie theater and even served at one time as a nightclub and concert venue for many of New York City’s rock bands. The building, however, has been closed and has sat vacant for the past twenty-five years.

Several years ago, investors had planned to reopen the Paramount as a restaurant and performance center, but the plans were not realized,

Thanks go out to Kevin Lee Allen and Kathleen McDonough for sharing the ScoutingNY.com post on their Facebook pages. By the way, check out their blog; it’s pretty cool.

Paramount Theatre

Paramount Theatre, (c. 1930), architect unknown.
Photo credit: Nick Carr, ScoutingNY.com © 2014 Source

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Silly Saturday: Patron Saints of Graphic Design

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on November 12, 2011.

Slightly blasphemous but nonetheless amusing are W. Lynn Garrett's Patron Saints of Graphic Design. As a survivor of both Catholic school and art school, I hope these “saints” are watching out for me.

Thanks to Jacob Cass of Just Creative Design for sharing.

St. Typo

W. Lynn Garrett, Saint Typo (2003).
Source: http://images4.cpcache.com/nocache/product/11119214v2147483647_150x150_Front.jpg

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All Wright Walk 2014: Unity Temple (1905)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple was the only Wright designed building included on the 2014 All Wright House Walk that was not a house, unless you consider the structure as a house of worship.

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Frank Lloyd Wright, Unity Temple (1905-1908), Oak Park, IL.

Unity Temple, perhaps one of Wright’s finest works, was named a National Historic Landmark in 1970.1

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Unity Temple, motto (exterior detail).

According to the brochure that accompanied the All Wright 2014 tour, there are more than one hundred art glass windows within the building; a fine example is shown here

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Unity Temple, art glass inset (exterior detail).

The columns of Unity Temple’s facade features a hollyhock motif one of Wright’s recurring designs, used in several of his buildings from this the period.

imageUnity Temple, balastrade on the front facade (exterior detail).

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A dramatic view of the exterior of Unity Temple at night.

For more information on Unity Temple visit the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation Web site.

All photos credit: Bill Bowen © 2014.

Reference

1. Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, (2014). All Wright Walk [Brochure].

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