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Posts Tagged ‘design’

DESIGN: Steve Mehallo Offers A Refreshing Spin On Design History

After recently reading this post on a design colleagues Ayana Baltrip blog, DESIGNSPEAKS, I decided this essay was definitely worthy to share, with my design friends too. Steve Mehallo, teaches at American River College and he decided to share his views on the best ways to teach and research Graphic Design History. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts about Mehallo’s essay, on how design history should be taught.

Read about Mehallo’s refreshing methods on, how he teaches Design History. His essay offers you a thorough review on many of the key design history books considered the best by lots of design educators. I’m not going to mention any of the design history books, since you’ll get to read all about them in Mehallo’s essay. Although Mehallo’s does give you his aesthetic reasons on which books are worthy, and which ones need to skipped. In addition, his essay offers a solid rationale why anyone who teaches design history should not solely depend upon one book, but develop their own research methodology to make this subject engaging. Otherwise once you start lecturing and showing slides, you might just get a lot of students sitting in your class with their heads bowed once you turn down the lights. Last fall, I started my second Master’s in the Design Criticism program at School of Visual Arts in NYC. As a design educator, who also loves teaching Design History, I must confess that teaching this topic is an arduous task. However, my design history instructor in the program, Russell Flinchum, taught our class with the rigor of a southern baptist minister on Sunday morning. All to say, none of my classmates dared to bow their heads once the lights were turned down. As for me I left Russell’s class with a more varied knowledge on the history of design, and a lot of new books to add to my already overloaded bookcases at home. (above photograph; by Steve Melhallo student Samantha Costanilla).

Read more about Mehallo on his blog: http://mehallo.com/blog/

So I’ve been teaching my version of ‘a history of graphic design’ for several years now. Just finished up my 9th session.

As a text, Philip B. Meggs’ landmark research book – History of Graphic Design, first released in 1984 – is the bible on the subject. Even the ‘making of’ has its own edition.

It’s the most thorough analysis, and one of the best graphic design reference books I own. But as Meggs points out in his introduction, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to discover, find, research and incorporate into one’s own view.

Finally, there is another book that just hit the market – The Story of Graphic Design by Patrick Cramsie. It tackles similar ground, but from another angle. A refreshing find. And from what I could tell so far, it syncs with my own classroom take on ‘The Story’ . . .

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EXHIBITS: Design Journey Opens 19.May

DESIGN JOURNEY: AIGA national will showcase the works of 25 designers from diverse backgrounds is set to open on May 19, 2010 in the national headquarters in New York City.

“Design Journeys” is a collection of stories about the professional lives, contributions and portfolios of historically underrepresented designers that serves as a publicly accessible comprehensive body of research honoring their accomplishments. Individuals selected for “Design Journeys” will be published in an online archive that includes visual samples of their work with an insightful, biographical essay. A traveling exhibition is planned for 2010.

Join us in celebrating these extraordinary designers:
Gail Anderson, creative director, design, SpotCo
Archie Boston, founder and principal, Archie Boston Graphic Design
Andy Cruz, owner and art director, House Industries
Charles Dawson, artist and designer
Aaron Douglas, artist and illustrator
Emory Douglas, graphic artist
Rafael Esquer, founder and principal, alfalfa studio
Karin Fong, director and partner, Imaginary Forces
Sylvia Harris, information design strategist
Lorenzo Homar, graphic artist
John C Jay, global executive creative director and partner, Wieden+Kennedy
Steve Jones, principal and creative director, Plantain Studio
Garland Kirkpatrick, founder and principal, Helvetica Jones
Saki Mafundikwa, founder and director, Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts (ZIVA)
Chaz Maviyane-Davies, professor of design, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston
Pablo Medina, founder and principal, Cubanica
Rebeca Méndez, founder and principal, Rebeca Méndez Communication Design
Bennett Peji, founder and principal, Bennett Peji Design
Samina Quraeshi, co-founder and principal, SQ Design Publishers
Edel Rodriguez, artist and illustrator
Art Sims, founder and CEO, 11:24 Design Advertising
Lucille Tenazas, founder and principal, Tenazas Design
Michele Washington, founder and principal, Washington Design
LeRoy Winbush
, founder and principal, Winbush Design
Maurice Woods, founder and chair, Inneract Project

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On Point: Hottentot Venus Symposium @NYU

Venus 2010

March 27, 2010

Sarah (Saartjie) Baartman, also known as the “Hottentot Venus,” a South African woman who was placed on exhibit in England and France beginning in 1810 and has been described by her protagonists as animal-like and exotic will be the subject of Venus 2010: They Called Her “Hottentot” an Interdisciplinary Symposium. The event, co-hosted by the Department of Photography & Imaging in the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with NYU’s Africana Studies and the Institute for African American Affairs, will take place at the Tisch School of the Arts at 721 Broadway (at Waverly Place) on Saturday, March 27, 2010.

721 Broadway, Riese Lounge
9:00 – check in
9:30 –Welcome: Deb Willis, Manthia Diawara
9:45 – Keynote: Elizabeth Alexander
10:15 –11:15: Sarah Baartman in Context
Presenters: Charmaine Nelson, Zine Magubane, and Carole Boyce Davies.
 Moderator: Cheryl Finley
11:45-12:45: Sarah Baartman’s Legacy in Art and Art History
Presenters: Lisa Gail Collins,
Cheryl Finley and Fo Wilson.
1:00 – 2:00: break, book signing

2:00-3:30: The “Hottentot Venus” in Art and Film
Performance: Holly Bass
Presenters: Renee Cox, Lyle Ashton Harris, Ada Pinkston and Carla Williams.
3:45-4:45: Iconic Women in the Twentieth Century
Poet: Linda Susan Jackson
Presenters: J. Yolande Daniels, Michaela Angela Davis, Terri Francis and Michael
 Harris.
Moderator: Carla Williams
5:00: film screening and book signing (to end)



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20

03 2010

ART: Nick Cave's "Soundsuits" Shimming Down

In the areas of fiber arts and performance art, one name reins supreme: Nick Cave. Not to be confused with the musician, Nick Cave, the fiber/performance artist creates “sound suits from found objects, including beads connected like tiny seeds of creativity, glass or plastic pieces strung together to form intricate patterns that suggest Brazilian or Caribbean carnival themes. These suits might also be layered with twigs and flowing hair, which from a distance looks like trees dancing in the woods, from some weird fairy tale.

This Cranbrook Design school graduate—who also serves as chair of the Fashion Design Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago—has created new artistic boundaries as he adapts old with new art techniques. With a unique mix of fibers and other materials, he has produced furniture, clothing and much more. This new relationship between contemporary art, crafts, and fashion was evident in the 2007 “Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting” exhibition mounted by the Museum of Art and Design.

Soundsuit: This funky style is made of a diverse collection of found objects.

But this movement of sorts almost didn’t happen.

Sometime in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the interest in knitting started to fade, followed closely by the dwindling number of yarns shops throughout New York City. Today, knitting has emerged as a viable fiber art form, with a different twist that leans towards free-form, stylized garments, or products that are a combination of materials. These materials feature a mix of fibers with varied textures, as well as found objects from nature, even buttons or beads.

Cave’s work has forced other fiber artists and artists in other disciplines to reexamine their own material references. Whether you have the experience of witnessing Cave’s suits in performances, or as immobile figures in a gallery, you can still experience the sound and visual dialogue his pieces provoke. His work speaks to viewers with a cacophony of sounds heard over and over again.

Nick Cave's "Soundsuits" at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City

Cave had previously danced with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. One day he began to pay attention to the cacophony of sounds that came form his costume, which was mostly made of twigs. As he moved his body, each twig bushed against another and produced barely audible but regular sounds. Similar sounds came from other dancers who were gyrating to the beat of accompanying drums.

He had found a muse who would inspire his new art form—himself.

His canvases of his own or other dancers’ bodies expanded to include skintight leotards, to loose fitting garments with deep hoods. His materials now include beads, bangles, and sequins. No objects are off-limits; nor any subject. He has pulled together references from the social and political issues of the day, using for example, his own state of blackness as a silhouette; and in a nod to the Rodney King trial, a piece that expresses the freedom—or lack thereof—of the black male body, this time tied with materials that look like rope. The most ornate work can resemble over-sized deities, similar to spiritual figures from the African Yoruba tradition, or the Brazilian Candomble.
Nick Cave is represented by the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City.

more links to Nick Cave soundsuits.





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15

03 2010


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