Adam Harrison Levy
An Interview With Philip Glass

In 2005, Adam Harrison Levy interviewed Philip Glass for a BBC documentary film about Chuck Close. Glass was seated in front of the monumental painting Phil. This is their exchange.

Rick Poynor
The Art of Punk and the Punk Aesthetic
Rick Poynor
Exposure: Drape (Cavalcade III) by Eva Stenram
Rick Poynor
Exposure: Mrs. E.N. Todter by Dion & Puett Studio

Art and the Ladies’ Field Club

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Rayograph with Gun by Man Ray
Victoria Solan
Love, Optimized

Can one’s inner life be made easier by technology?

John Foster
Sculpture en plein air
Véronique Vienne
Of Grids and Galleys: Designing The Real Thing
Rick Poynor
Exposure: Commuter in Tokyo by Michael Wolf

How to cope with compression

John Foster
Embellishing the Past

Artist Julie Cockburn’s embroidered photos

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Ford Motor Plant by Charles Sheeler
John Foster
Gene Merritt

A Fascination with Celebrity

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Cement Sky by Marla Rutherford
Rick Poynor
Exposure: Wintery Forest by Yang Yongliang

Building the new China

Véronique Vienne
The Old Wave?

Feminism: The End of the Show

John Foster
Los Ambulantes

The Itinerant Photographers of Guatemala

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Untitled Film Still #21 by Cindy Sherman

The photographer as performer

Debbie Millman
Ayse Birsel
John Foster
Identities Revealed
John Foster
Outside the Lines

The 24th Outsider Art Fair

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Francis Bacon by Bill Brandt

Portrait of the artist or photographer?

Debbie Millman
Tucker Nichols

Debbie talks to artist Tucker Nichols about his art, and the quality of the art he loves.

Rick Poynor
Exposure: House #3 by Francesca Woodman

Fabricating a phantom girl

John Foster
Lee Godie
Rick Poynor
Exposure: Portrait of Space by Lee Miller

Frames within frames in the desert

John Foster
As Above, So Below

Art of the American Fraternal Society, 1850–1930

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Morandi’s Objects by Joel Meyerowitz

The sublime in ordinary things

The Editors
A Collector’s Collections
Rick Poynor
Exposure: American Hermit by Alec Soth

Alone in the great outdoors

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Crashed Car by Arnold Odermatt

Fast and Furious: a retrofit

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Beauty Salon in Kraków by David Hlynsky
Rick Poynor
Exposure: American Family by Ralph Eugene Meatyard
Debbie Millman
Brian Rea
Ava Kofman
Shock and Awe

The Art of Virtual Reality

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Kuwait, 1991 by Sophie Ristelhueber
Debbie Millman
Oliver Jeffers

Debbie talks to artist and illustrator Oliver Jeffers, who explains how illustrating and writing children’s books has changed his fine art painting.

John Foster

Call me franked.

John Foster
To Catch a Fish
Emily King
Thoughts on Adapting

Five Issues of Studio International

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Flypaper and Flies by Jacques-André Boiffard
John Foster
Deft doodling
Rick Poynor
Exposure: The Gamble by Peter Kennard

The clandestine operations of power

John Foster
Rick Poynor
Exposure: Head below Wires by Roger Ballen
Debbie Millman
Elle Luna

Debbie Millman talks to Elle Luna about why she walked away from great design jobs with IDEO, Uber, and Mailbox.

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Surface Transit by Eva Fuka

The shock of New York in the sixties

John Foster
Body of Knowledge

A historical overview of anatomical drawing

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Luigi Russolo’s Noise Machines
Rick Poynor
Exposure: Cat and I by Wanda Wulz

Modernity, femininity and the feline

John Foster
Flower Power

The Hibiscus Scrapbook

Rob Walker
The Craft of the Fake

A crafty art forger’s work inspires an idea: authorized forgeries.

Rick Poynor
Exposure: The Simulator by Dora Maar

The chamber of Surrealist visions

Rick Poynor
Exposure: El Paso Street by Stephen Shore
Rick Poynor
Exposure: Rise Up You Are Free by Dominic Hawgood

A post-photographic view of exorcism

Ava Kofman
The Printer’s Progress

The (book) art of ideals

Rick Poynor
Illustrations by Bohumil Štěpán for Crazy Fairy Tales
Laura Tarrish
Hunter | Gatherer: Illustrator Sketchbooks, Pt. III

An interview with the artist known as August Wren

Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand
The Observatory: Epidemics and Theater
John Foster
Reflections in a Golden Eye

The optics- and vision-centered work of Harris Diamant

Laura Tarrish
Hunter | Gatherer: James Castle

The outsider artist James Castle is the subject of two current exhibitions and a favorite of Laura Tarrish

John Foster
Focusing on the Masters
John Foster
Rabanus Maurus: Poems of the Cross
Laura Tarrish
Hunter | Gatherer: The House
Adam Harrison Levy
An Interview with Picasso
Digital Ethereal

Luis Hernan’s Invisible Landscape of Wireless Networks

Sara Jamshidi
Black Hand: Iranian Banksy?

Black Hand is one of the numerous underground artists in Iran and his exhibition is neither the first nor the last underground exhibition.

Sam Jacob
Daniel Weil: Timeless
John Foster
Shadwell Shams: A Tale of Two Forgers
Jennifer Kabat
Exhibition as Inquiry: An Interview with Kieran Long

Guns, shoes and cheap jeans: Kieran Long has added all of these to the Victoria & Albert Museum’s permanent collection.

Véronique Vienne
Two Monumental Shows in Paris: One Large, One Small

There are two shows you shouldn’t miss if you happen to be in Paris this summer.

Black, Red + Gold

A conversation about colonization and visual resistance in Australia.

Adam Harrison Levy
Jeff Koons’s Studio: An ER Room for Art

Walking into Jeff Koons’s studio is like entering a medical laboratory crossed with an open plan office. It’s an ER room for art.

John Foster
Magic and Mystery in the Art of Katrien De Blauwer

Katrien De Blauwer's work is infused with psychological overtones — like viewing two or three frames from a film noir movie, only reassembled into something even more mysterious.

Rick Poynor
The Body as Factory: Anatomy of an Image

Peeling back the skin of a New Scientist cover illustration by Nichola Bruce and Michael Coulson.

Adam Plunkett
On Sylvia Plath’s Drawings
John Foster
Interview with Artist Henrik Drescher
Rick Poynor
Rediscovering the Lost Art of the Typewriter
John Foster
Exploring Art Environments
Véronique Vienne
Image Making, Reclaimed

Etienne Hervy, art director of the International Graphic Design Festival in Chaumont, France, asked a painter, not a graphic designer, to create a pair of posters for this year’s event.

More Botany

Avery Thatcher is one of the emerging designers from the oft-lauded creative class in Portland, Oregon.

Debbie Millman
Brian Singer
John Foster
Our Shared Past

Jefree Shalev and his girlfriend selected 175 film stills from his parents’ past life and dispersed these intimate family images with the Florida art community. The result is an exhibition called ‘Our Shared Past’.

Laura Tarrish
Hunter | Gatherer: Botanicals
Debbie Millman
Rachel Sussman

Artist Rachel Sussman discusses her new book and explains what it was like to be abandoned without supplies — or a phone — in Greenland.  

Alex Knowlton
Miami Nice
Tiny PMS Match

Designer Inka Mathew is matching tiny objects to Pantone colors.

Rick Poynor
The Conceptual Advertising of J.G. Ballard

J.G. Ballard’s conceptual ads anticipated the emergence of culture jamming, subvertising, design fiction and speculative design.

Glaser Goes Psychedelic

If you're watching the premier of Mad Men this Sunday, you may notice some familiar-ish graphics. That's because the key art for Season 7 was created by Milton Glaser, based on some of the work he became known for in the 1960's and 70's, now frequently described as 'psychedelia'.

Adam Plunkett
How to Visualize Poetry — And How Not to

Design Observer's poetry editor, Adam Plunkett, gives us a primer on visual poetry.

John Foster
Found, Cut, and Rearranged: The Art of John Stezaker
An Aposiopesis of Black Honey: or Variations on Dürer’s Melancholia I

A visual poem from Jess.

Inge Druckrey + Sister Corita Kent on Film

On Friday, April 4th, the Department of Graphic Design at Yale University will be showing Teaching to See and Learning by Heart, two short films on the work and teaching of Inge Druckrey and Sister Corita Kent.

Debbie Millman
Jonathan Harris
A Love Letter to the City
John Foster
The Essence of a Teapot
Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: David Levinthal
Jennifer Kabat
Genzken and the City

A review of Isa Genzken’s current retrospective on view at MOMA.

Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: Kiki Smith
John Foster
Face Time

This week, John Foster looks at the endless fascination we have with the human face and the myriad ways it can be transformed.

Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Surface Wreckage
John Foster
The Private World of Martina Kubelk

A photo album containing 99 pages and over 380 photographs; self-portraits of a man in women’s clothes.

Rick Poynor
Why Tatlin Can Never Go Home Again
Craft, Art + Design Oral History Project

The Bard Graduate Center Craft, Art & Design Oral History Project is admirably ambitious.

John Foster
Imperfect Beauty
50 Years of Cuban Film Posters

The Danish Film Institute has posted their collection of Cuban Film Posters from the past 50 years or more on Flickr.

John Thackara
Conflict and Design

A review of the design triennial in Belgium on the theme of Conflict and Design.

A Secret Art Show Inside a Condemned NYC Apartment Building

The show, called Surplus Candy, was the brainchild of street artist Hanksy.

John Foster
The Renewed Art of Embroidered Photographs
These Collages Blur the Lines of Reality

Daniel Gordon is an artist and author living and working in Brooklyn. His work is the subject of three booksand a profile this week on Wired.

Rick Poynor
Martin Sharp: People, Politics and Pop

Martin Sharp rediscovered: drawings and collages from the book People, Politics and Pop: Australians in the Sixties.

John Foster
From Russia With Doubt

From Russia with Doubt is the true story about brothers Ron and Roger Pollard, two amateur collectors who enjoyed going to flea markets and estate sales, picking up objects, paintings — anything they happened to like.

A Sculpture on the Moon

Slate has a fascinating article about artist Paul van Hoeydonck and his three-and-a-half inch scultpure, Fallen Astronaut that was (and still is) exhibited on the moon.

Michael Bierut
And May All Your Christmases Be Carefully Staged So As To Appear White
Fairy Tale Architecture

A roundup of our holiday Fairy Tale Architecture posts.

Painting on Black Velvet

Collector's Weekly has a wonderful homage to the "the paintings the art world loves to hate", those on black velvet.
Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: Joel Meyerowitz

Photographer Joel Meyerowitz's story of marriage and pasta con le sarde.

Rick Poynor
Martin Sharp: From Satire to Psychedelia
Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: April Gornik
Megan Whitmarsh
Megan Whitmarsh on Originality
Adam Harrison Levy
Saul Leiter: Remembered

Saul Leiter taught himself to paint, but his father did not approve. These early abstract works, dating from the 1940s, show a remarkably confident use of line, color and composition.

Adam Harrison Levy
Artist’s Cookbook: Alex Katz

When it comes to food, Alex Katz keeps it simple.

Debbie Millman
Terry Teachout
Alexandra Lange
Art On Campus

A review of the renovated Blaffer Art Museum and James Turrell's latest skyspace, "Twilight Epiphany."

Rick Poynor
Collage Culture: Nostalgia and Critique

An interview with David Banash, author of Collage Culture: Readymades, Meaning, and the Age of Consumption.

John Foster
Extraordinary Spanish Art Environments

Jo Farb Hernández spent close to fourteen years surveying the elaborate fanciful worlds, idiosyncratic sculptures and unique visionary creations of 45 self-taught Spanish artists.

John Foster
Asemic Writing: Open to Interpretation

Michael Jacobson’s Gallery of Asemic Writing is a website repository for international artists, writers, readers and viewers.

The Way of Chopsticks

The Way of Chopsticks explores Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen's memories of growing up in Communist China and juxtaposes those hardships with their bilingual 11-year-old daughter's very different, very contemporary upbringing.


Someguy, also known as Brian Singer, is a San Francisco based fine artistand graphic designer. His most recent work — Possession — is a screen print on uncut dollars.

Rick Poynor
From the Archive: Brian Eno, Artist of Light
Rick Poynor
New York: City of Spectacular Doors
John Foster
The Open Eye: The Home Collection of Ray Yoshida

Accidental Mysteries for September 29, 2013 focuses on the vast home collection of Chicago artist and teacher Ray Yoshida.

Seven Fantastic Vintage Anatomy Drawings

Popular Science's gallery of seven of the most fantastic anatomy drawings from the Middle Ages.

John Foster
Barkcloth Art of the Omie

Accidental Mysteries for September 22 focuses on art of the Ömie people of New Guinea — powerful, graphic works on barkcloth that they call nioge.

Roshanak Keyghobadi
Composing in Space: Tactile Poetry of Farhad Fozouni

A review of work by Iranian graphic designer Farhad Fozouni.

Rick Poynor
Bohumil Stepan’s Family Album of Oddities

Bohumil Stepan’s Familienalbum presents a series of surreally equipped and irreverently modified collages of his family.

John Foster
Artful Mourning

The art of mourning in Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries: a look at post-mortem and memorial photographs and memorabilia.

Rick Poynor
Bohumil Stepan’s Gallery of Erotic Humor
John Foster
Signs of Labor

In honor of this week’s national celebration of Labor Day, a selection of images that personify the hard work and dedication of the American worker.

The Art Toast Project

Culinary innovator Ida Frosk depicts the works of famous cultural icons on pieces of toast.

Rick Poynor
Collage Now, Part 1: Sergei Sviatchenko

In a crowded field, Sergei Sviatchenko’s highly reductive photo-collages look like his own and no one else’s.

Rick Poynor
Collage Now, Part 2: Cut and Paste Culture
John Foster
Stitching Stories

Accidental Mysteries for August 11, 2013 focuses on Jane Waggoner Deschner and her stitched stories.

Rick Poynor
David Maisel and the Apocalyptic Sublime

David Maisel’s photographs are visions of the Earth as we have never seen it full of beauty and terror.

Perspective-Localized Art

Swiss artist Felice Varini recently installed a new perspective-localized street art piece in Paris.

John Foster
The Collection de l’Art Brut

It was Jean Dubuffet who coined the term Art Brut to describe art that was raw, pure and untainted by rules or schooling. This was art that emerged from the minds of madness — or genius.

Rick Poynor
Soft Machine’s Dysfunctional Mechanism
Barbie, Revisited

Artist Nikcolay Lamm asked what Barie would look like as an average woman.

Alexandra Lange
Nevermind the Masterpiece

What's your "Masterpiece of Everyday New York"? A broken umbrella? A shirtwaist? Discarded gum?

Debbie Millman
Interaction of Color
Eyes on the Sky: Weather Visualized
Rick Poynor
The Incidental Pleasures of Street Art

Sprawling, evolving, accreting: a collection of recent street art photos from Portugal and Spain.

Flowering Pages

A little-known but remarkable collection of treasures from The Garden Club of America illustrates the activities of the premier American gardening association over the course of a century.

Rob Walker
Street Life

In praise of street art that draws attention to more than just itself.

John Foster
A Nod to Surrealism
Alexandra Lange
Dream Weaver
Rick Poynor
The Conceptual Posters of Boris Bucan
Rob Walker
The Medium Is The Mail

Jill Stoll combines artistic ritual, creative reuse, and the postal service as connector.

John Thackara
Paranoid But Pretty

A review of Matthias Megyeri's new show at the German Architecture Center, and a review of the question the exhibition inspires: "Are we safer?"

Debbie Millman
Wendy MacNaughton + Caroline Paul

Wendy MacNaughton and Caroline Paul on a journey from advertising to Rwanda to illustration, and from Stanford to firefighter to author.

Change of State

"Change of State" — a site specific projection on the facade of the New Museum during Ideas City Festival, Saturday, May 4th, 2013.

John Foster
The Deep Roots of Modernism
Debbie Millman
Jennifer Sterling

Jennifer Sterling on her process, how money should be designed, and the way teaching has influenced her career.

John Foster
Drawn to Currency
Ann Weber Dumpster Dives in Rome

A film by Nick Heller about Ann Weber, a California-based artist who currently works primarily in cardboard.

John Foster
Defiant Beauty

Accidental Mysteries for March 24, 2013 focuses on Defiant Beauty, the art of Chakaia Booker.

Debbie Millman
ON! at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati

In this special Design Matters video episode, Debbie Millman gives you on a preview the new exhibit ON! at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati.

Debbie Millman
Sara Blake

Debbie Millman talks to Sara Blake about collaborating with her sister, creating portraits of 100 girls and illustrating NBA players.


Seattle Art Museum will change permanently when Doug Aitken’s newest art installation — a giant LED and glass display called Mirror — is revealed.
John Foster
Dreams of the Sonora Aero Club

The mysterious, double-sided, collaged watercolor drawings that comprise the journals of Charles August Albert Dellschau.

John Foster
Kodachrome Finds New Life

Accidental Mysteries for March 10, 2013 focuses on Fred Herzog's Kodachrome slides.

Alexandra Lange
After the Museum: The Tumblr

To create, a multi-museum, multi-curator Tumblr @MADMuseum, I saw it as a kind of curatorial game: Show Me What You’ve Got.

Rick Poynor
On My Shelf: Fin de Copenhague
John Foster
What’s Inside?
Vivian Maier: The Movie

A documentary is being made about John Maloofs discovery of Vivian Maier's street photographs.

Alexandra Lange
Patterns of Houston

How do you critique the urbanism of Houston? Look for patterns.

Rick Poynor
A Dictionary of Surrealism and the Graphic Image

An alphabetical guide to graphic designers influenced by Surrealism and to some key Surrealist concepts.

Filming Love in Times Square

From 11:57pm on February 13th until 12am February 14th British artist Tracey Emin turned Times Square into a big Valentine's Day card.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries

A closer look at the cryptic, compelling world of the mask.

Adam Harrison Levy
Dylan Stone: 100 Years

Adam Harrison Levy reviews Dylan Stone's exhibition of 100 years of personal pocket diaries at Ruth Phaneuf Fine Art.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Jessica Helfand
Ezra Winter Project: Chapter Twelve

In the end, Ezra Winter was a man whose devotion to the classical world virtually underscored his every move: it explained his ineffable pursuit of youth, his enduring worship of women, his unyielding obsessions with fantasy and grandeur, lyricism and scale, theatricality and costume, fable and myth.

Alexandra Lange
Bad Taste True Confessions: Erté

True confessions about my own bad taste. I loved Erté. Did you?

Happy Holidays from Robert Frost

A brief history of the collaboration between Robert Frost and Joseph Blumenthal as well as many top woodcut and engraving artists of the day.

Rick Poynor
Dom Sylvester Houédard’s Cosmic Typewriter
John Foster
Accidental Mysteries

Hands of all kinds — in bronze, as shadow puppets and on gravestones.

Fig. 1-99

Anthony Gerace has created a series of 100 collaged colour studies – each one constructed from a single image, or rather the counterforms from an image.

Tweeting Birds

@Hungry_birds are real birds from Latvia typing on the keyboard made from fat.
Speculative Sound Performance

On Tuesday, November 27, at Apexart in NYC: an exercise in sonic branding.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Rob Walker
Real Space, Imaginary Stuff
Alexandra Lange
Knolling Your Polling Place
Ed Ruscha
Sign Painters

Ed Ruscha's forward to Sign Painters, a new book from Princeton Architectural Press.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Jessica Helfand
Ezra Winter Project: Chapter Ten

In April, 1933, Ezra Winter delivers a fifteen-minute live radio talk on the subject of mural painting in relation to modern life, in which he tries desperately to convince himself that he has embraced the modern world.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries

Once you use time, it is gone forever. Maybe that’s why we spend so much time looking at clocks.  

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries

Nocturnes : the dramatic allure of what happens in the night.

Alexandra Lange
Having Fun at the Museum
Rick Poynor
The Museum of Communicating Objects

Orhan Pamuk’s The Innocence of Objects is an illuminating guide to his Museum of Innocence in Istanbul.

Wade Guyton: Cause for Optimism

A review of Wade Guyton’s show at the Whitney Museum in New York.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries

Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is art without artists.

Art Without Artists

Accidental Mysteries John Foster co-curated
Art Without Artists at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at North Carolina State University.
John Foster
Accidental Mysteries

Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is sequences.

Rick Poynor
John Stezaker: Images from a Lost World
Alexandra Lange
Art Matters to Architecture

In Indianapolis, a restored Milton Glaser mural allows us to see its Brutalist home as its architect intended: with color!

Rick Poynor
The Never-ending Struggle against Clutter

Clutter and design are inseparable as concepts because clutter is the negation of design.

Rick Poynor
On My Shelf: André Breton’s Nadja

The Livre de poche edition of André Breton’s Surrealist classic Nadja remains the best visual interpretation of the book.

Rick Poynor
Sending Signals about Political Graphics

Issue two of Signal, a journal about the visual languages used around the world to support political protest.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
John Foster
Accidental Mysteries: 07.15.12
Rob Walker
Assignment Creativity

A chaotic and entertaining collection addresses "the art of the art assignment."

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries

Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is Hannah Höch.

Rick Poynor
The Enduring Influence of Richard Hollis
Jessica Helfand
Ezra Winter Project: Chapter Three

In his first post-Academy professional pursuit, Ezra Winter is hired to design camouflage for the United States Shipping Board, using a reductive visual vocabulary of bold stripes and patches of solid color that is far closer to the language of Klee and Kandinsky than of the Renaissance masters he loves.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Debbie Millman
Jen Bekman

Jen Bekman discusses managing a BBS in the early days of the internet, her first email exchange and the importance of everyone owning art.

Rick Poynor
Motif Magazine: The World Made Visible
Rick Poynor
John McHale and the Expendable Ikon
John Foster
Accidental Mysteries

Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment. This week's focus is Politics.

Rick Poynor
The Evil Genius of David Shrigley
Jessica Helfand
Ezra Winter Project: Chapter One

Jessica Helfand, who teaches the seminar "Studies in Visual Biography" at Yale, shares her year-long exploration of the American muralist Ezra Winter: this is part one.

Adam Harrison Levy
A History Of The World In 100 Objects

Adam Harrison Levy reviews the book A History Of The World In 100 Objects.

Rick Poynor
Ernst Haas and the Color Underground

Has Ernst Haas, an early master of color photography, received the credit his ground-breaking pictures deserve?

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries

Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.

John Foster
A New American Picture: Doug Rickard and Street Photography in the Age of Google

When Google launched Street View in 2007, it was just the ticket for photographer Doug Rickard.

John Thackara
Why Walls Need Floors

The artist has worked with the knowledge that most of his site-and time-specific specific works are destined to disappear. Why?

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries

Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.

Alexandra Lange
When Modernists Get Crafty

The Museum of Arts and Design's Crafting Modernism makes a good case for bringing back macrame.

Rick Poynor
Man in a Bowler: Illustration after Magritte

By copying Magritte’s subject matter and method, illustrators ended up making a great artist look hackneyed.

Rick Poynor
Literary Horror from the Chapman Brothers

British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman have created an image of sublime horror for the cover of Granta magazine.

Rick Poynor
On Display: The Kirkland Museum

If I had to pick just one Denver museum to revisit, it would be the fabulous Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art.

Rick Poynor
Jan Svankmajer and the Graphic Uncanny

Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design opens at the Kunstal in Rotterdam on September 24.

Alice Twemlow
Remembering Richard Hamilton as Design Critic

Alice Twemlow remembers Richard Hamilton, artist and design writer.

Rick Poynor
Richard Hamilton, the Great Decipherer

The artist Richard Hamilton, who died this week, was an acute observer of design and the contemporary world.

Rick Poynor
Chris Foss and the Technological Sublime

Is cult science fiction artist Chris Foss’s work just highly effective illustration, or can it be seen as a visionary form of art?

Rick Poynor
On My Shelf: The Metallization of a Dream

The best designed book about the artist Eduardo Paolozzi was compiled in 1963 by a student at the Royal College of Art.

Rick Poynor
Funerary Portraits: Snapshots in Stone
Rick Poynor
Andrzej Klimowski: Transmitting the Image
Rick Poynor
J.G. Ballard’s Terminal Documents

A speculative visual interpretation of one of the surreal image lists in J.G. Ballard’s experimental novel The Atrocity Exhibition.

Rick Poynor
The Dictionary as Art Concept

A new Magritte exhibition catalogue is not the first to take the form of a dictionary. How important is originality when it comes to book design?

Rick Poynor
On the Threshold of Sebald’s Room

Daniel Blaufuks is haunted by a picture of an office in W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz. Where did it come from and what does it show?

Robin Cembalest
Shrink Rap

Mexican designer/artist Pedro Reyes opens a temporary sanatorium in Brooklyn.

Julie Lasky
Tribute to Tobi

A year after Tobias Wong's death, the exhibition "Brokenoff Brokenoff" opened in New York.

Rick Poynor
Unearthly Powers: Surrealism and SF
Steven Heller
Paul Rand, Painter

Paul Rand had more in common with Paul Klee than a four letter first and last name. He too, painted.

Rick Poynor
Stewart Mackinnon: Ruptured and Remade
Rick Poynor
Starowieyski’s Graphic Universe of Excess

In Franciszek Starowieyski’s posters, desire, sexuality, monstrosity, madness and death conjoin in some of the most outrageous images found in graphic design.

Rick Poynor
An Unknown Master of Poster Design
Rick Poynor
Slicing Open the Surrealist Eyeball

Surrealism codified a poetic principle that has always existed as a possibility and still exists in life and art.

James Biber
Pictures of Pictures

James Biber gives us a close new look at familiar paintings.

Rick Poynor
What Does J.G. Ballard Look Like? Part 2

There is increasing interest in the relationship between the writer J.G. Ballard and the visual arts. Have Ballard’s admirers and critics overlooked the most Ballardian artist of them all?

Julie Lasky
Rock Girl Benches

Rock Girl in Cape Town offers real and symbolic safe places for girls and women.

Mark Lamster
Cities from the Sky

A new exhibition of urban photographs by Sze Tsung Leong.

Mark Lamster
MoCA Loco
Rick Poynor
A Journal with No Fear of Flying

The Drawbridge’s change of visual direction is one of the most dramatic ever ventured by a literary magazine.

Rick Poynor
What Does J.G. Ballard Look Like?
Jessica Helfand
When Do We Call it Art?

Back in the pre-Banksy days of big cars and even bigger hair, there came a cultural moment noted for its prevalence of large-scaled words and symbols, a comparatively brazen visual trope that flirted with modernity by celebrating overscaled visuals in the interest of commerce.

Mark Lamster
Gerd Arntz: Design Icon

Gerd Arntz: A design icon who designed icons.

Meena Kadri
Meena Kadri’s Collection of Indian Street Graphics

It started quite innocently — as most obsessions do. A snap of a painted truck here and spot of rural advertising there, on annual trips to the ancestral homeland.

Rick Poynor
Surrealism in the Pre-School Years
Mark Lamster
The Once & Future Whitney Museum
Julie Lasky
"Do Not Touch!"
Mark Lamster
Beauty on the Border

Stop-you-in-your-tracks beauty on the US/Canada border.

Alexandra Lange
No Rest at the Last Supper

"Leonardo's Last Supper: A Vision by Peter Greenaway" is indeed a dud: cheese-tastic, bombastic, didactic.

Rick Poynor
Where Is Art Now?

Leaving the art world to decide what art is doesn’t resolve the issue of quality.

Nancy Levinson
Art Talks
Michelle Hauser
A Fluid and Expressive Medium: Interview with Robert E. Jackson

In recent years, a new breed of photographer has emerged: the camera-less Photographer. This new generation — many of whom self-identify as collectors — has reinvented the process once again. Michelle Hauser interviews Robert E. Jackson, one of the country's most prolific collector of vernacular photography, who lays claim to a breadth and depth of material rivaled by few if any, in this emerging field.

Nancy Levinson
Greenaway at the Armory
Rick Poynor
Danzig Baldaev’s Prison House of Flesh
Rick Poynor
On My Shelf: Surrealism Permanent Revelation
Rick Poynor
An App for the Self-Replacing Book
Jessica Helfand, and Marian Bantjes
The Bantjes Covers

Marian Bantjes exposes the long process that led to the cover of her new monograph, I Wonder.

Alexandra Lange
On Design Observer: Girard + Folk Art

Alexander Girard fascinates me as an architect who refused to play the skyscraper game, focusing his considerable talents on restaurants, textiles, exhibitions and murals.

Mark Lamster
Wavefield: Maya Lin at Storm King

I went out with the family to see Maya Lin’s Wavefield up at Storm King Art Center over the weekend.

John Foster
Accidental Mysteries

Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age.

Mark Lamster
Upside Dome
Jade Dressler
Degrees of Temporary

Interview with Claudia Zanfi, co-founder of the cultural organization aMAZElab in Milan.

Sculpture by Mara Haseltine
Pearl River

Oyster Island, Mara Haseltine's sculpture created to revive the oyster reefs that once flourished in and near New York City.

Christopher Mount
Wild at Heart: Tadanori Yokoo

Essay adapted from the catalog for "The Complete Posters of Tadanori Yokoo," an exhibition running through September 12, 2010, at the National Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan.

Mark Lamster
Master of Shadows: Paperback

Behold the very dashing cover for the forthcoming paperback edition of Master of Shadows, design by the great John Gall.

Mark Lamster
Oh, Culture: A Koons at the Seagram Building

I imagine Mies would not have been pleased to see Jeff Koons's kitschy pink balloon dog standing guard in the lobby of the Seagram Building, his masterpiece of pristine austerity.

Alexandra Lange
Op Art Eye Candy

I’m lucky that I get to live with a
Julian Stanczak painting, bought by my father-in-law in 1968, when Op Art was really something.
Jessica Helfand
Rome’s MAXXI: Force Field as Field Space

The MAXXI center in Rome opens with a glorious, international exhibition and showcases a building that is likely to be as controversial — and as celebrated — as its designer.

Helen Chang
Jugendstil: The Youth Style of Viennese Book Art

Turn-of-the-century Vienna was a magical, infectious brew. Viennese children’s book illustrations at the time were no exception.

Mark Lamster
Rubens and the Right

A couple of weeks ago I went up to Cambridge for a symposium on Rubens, hoping to catch up on the latest scholarship and check in with friends in the art history game.

Eric Baker
Today, 05.15.10

Each morning, before starting work, I spend 30 minutes looking for images that are beautiful, funny, absurd and inspiring. Here's TODAY.

Elliott Earls
The Sentient and the Bag of Meat

In most cases, design education takes place within the larger context of this thing called “art school.” Students can be grouped into one of two categories: the Sentient and the Bag of Meat.

Adrian Shaughnessy
Safety and Comfort: A Walk with Paul Davis

Davis has asked me to write the introduction to his latest book. I told him I didn't want to write about the usual stuff. He agreed and suggested we go for a walk instead.

Mark Dery
Bunker of Broken Dreams

Review of "Landscapes of Quarantine," Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York. March 9–April 17, 2010.

Mark Lamster
A Very Good Book

Anyone who sees fit to pontificate on the status and future of the book should be legally obligated to see the MET's exhibition of the Limbourg brothers' Belles Heures of Jean, Duc de Berry.

Rob Walker
Valuing $0

Lewis Hyde wrote The Gift decades ago for an audience of artists, writers and other people who create. Chris Anderson, cited Hyde’s work in his book Free, published last year.

Mark Lamster
A Matter of Perspective?

The Vancouver Sun has run a long follow-up story, by Jennifer Moss, to my Los Angeles Times pieceon the plagiarism charges leveled by Sze Tsung Leong against David Burden

Jessica Helfand
Prisoners of Logic

For five or six years now, I have led a double life as a painter. Until recently, I viewed this other identity as a kind of dirty secret.

Mark Lamster
Talking Rubens with Leonard Lopate

I'll be appearing on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show this afternoon.

Mark Lamster
Master of Shadows: A Telegraph Book of the Year

The distinguished British historian Michael Burleigh has named Master of Shadows a Book of the Year in the Telegraph.

Mark Lamster
"Compelling" & "Important": The L.A. Times Praises Master of Shadows

Good book reviews are rarities to be prized in these days of shuttered newspapers and diminished book coverage. By good I don't simply mean positive.

Mark Lamster
Dankuwel Antwerpen!

This is a good week to be thankful and I am especially grateful to everyone who made the launch of De meester van de schaduw in Antwerp such a success.

Mark Lamster
The Big Stage

'll be giving a talk on Rubens and his diplomatic career at the Ringling Museum's extraordinary Asolo Theater.

By Alexis Rockman
Hot Times in the Old Town

East 82nd Street, 2007, painting from Alexis Rockman's American Icons series depicting future landscapes ravaged by climate change

Felice C. Frankel, and George M. Whitesides
No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale

A slideshow of images from the book, No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale.

Steven Heller
Why Does John Baeder Paint Diners?

John Baeder's goal for the past three decades has been to record on canvas and paper just about every diner and roadside eatery.

Mark Lamster
A Renaissance Who Dunnit

Tomorrow the Metropolitan Museum will put on display a sculpture of a boy archer that made headlines about a decade ago when a New York art historian claimed it was the work of Michelangelo.

Jessica Helfand
All Things Matter

His name was Herbert Matter, a man even the ornery Paul Rand described as possibly the least pompous person on the planet. When I was a junior in college, he taught me how to make a Photogram. He was 74 years old.

Mark Lamster
Peter Paul Rubens: Graphic Designer

In his day, Rubens was also revered as a diplomat, an architect, a classical scholar, and even a graphic designer.

Mark Lamster
The Art of Diplomacy

It's a rather satisfying bit of parallelism that the excerpt of my book on the political career of Peter Paul Rubens appears in the Wall Street Journal on the same day that Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize is the paper's lead story.

Mark Lamster
A Bibliophile's Revelation

Domenichino's St. John the Evangelist seems, as much as anything, a celebration of the act of writing and the ecstasy of the written word. 

Ernest Beck
Emergency Response Studio

Report on artist Paul Villinski's mobile studio, which he converted from a trailer of the type used by FEMA to house victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Australians All Let Us Text

"New Anthems" art project by Inkahoots for Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Brisbane, Australia.

Alexandra Lange
First Flight

My two-year-old made his first interpretation of art on Saturday at the Storm King Art Center.

Mark Lamster
Auto-Matic Abstraction

With their zippy vertical lines, these pictures I shot out of a car window remind me of Barney Newman.

Mark Lamster
On "Master of Shadows"

Peter Paul Rubens gives us a lot to think about in his canvasses of rushing color, action, and puckered flesh, so it’s not surprising that his work as a diplomat and spy has been neglected.

Alexandra Lange
Summer As a Verb

The estate of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens is a lovely place to picnic while reviewing the artist's work.

Mark Lamster
Advance Praise for Master of Shadows

The first notices for Master of Shadows are beginning to flow in, and I'm happy to report that the initial response has been very positive indeed.

Mark Lamster
Live Fast, Die Young

Dash Snow rests in a long line of dangerous, self-destructive artists who've captured the public imagination.

Mark Lamster
Meet James Ensor

It's been some three decades since James Ensor has had a major museum exhibition in the US, which makes MoMA's new show a rare pleasure.

Ars Libri Ltd
Paul Schuitema Collection

This remarkable collection of graphic design is from the Dutch designer Paul Schuitema.

Mark Lamster
Red Star

The New York-Amsterdam connection has been much in the news of late, and rightly so, as this is the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's Dutch-sponsored voyage of American discovery.

Mark Lamster
All in the Family

My cousin Barbara Schaefer is having a show of recent work at Shop Art, on Bergen Street in Brooklyn.

Mark Lamster
Tormented Youth

Next week the MET will put on display Michelangelo's "Torment of Saint Anthony," reputedly the artist's first painting.

Ars Libri Ltd
Walter Dexel Collection

This remarkable collection of graphic design is from the German Constructivist artist and typographer Walter Dexel.

William Drenttel
Once Out of Chaos

Mark Lamster
Bowery on the Beach?

Has Leigh Bowery, said to have died more than a decade ago, been hiding out on the Coney Island boardwalk sporting a mullet all along?

Mark Lamster
Urban Camouflage

As the Magritte Museum was prepared for its unveiling, the building was cloaked by a brilliant trompe-l'oeil construction wall, very much in the spirit of the artist.

Julie Lasky
This End Up: Renzo Piano's Modern Wing

Julie Lasky reviews the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing.

Adam Eeuwens
One Word, Plastics

This is a call to action for designers to donate credit cards, gift cards, discount cards, hotel key cards, phone cards to the Graphic Design Museum in Breda, The Netherlands.

Mark Lamster
On Muses

Lee Siegel has a wonderful piece in today's WSJ on the history and decline of the muse in art.

Mark Lamster
Triumph of the Will (Or, Everything Old Is New Again)

In the New Yorker this week, Jonah Lehrer writes about a psychological study suggesting that self control, or the ability to delay gratification, more strongly correlates with long-term success than intelligence.

Jason Grant
Cultured Graphic Hygiene

Regardless of how difficult, disobedient or messy their subject, museum posters are courteous and clean. Is there any reason why graphic design for museums shouldn’t be the measure of their exhibits?

Mark Lamster

While it's true that the events of 9/11 have begotten a good number of ill-conceived memorials, the latest, set for unveiling today at the Yankees' spring training home in Tampa, might just be the least successful, artistically.

Mark Lamster
Access Denied

In putting together the images for Master of Shadows, my publisher placed a permissions request to use a painting from the collection of the Norton Simon Foundation, in Los Angeles, only to be denied.

Mark Lamster
After Peter Paul Rubens (Long After)

Perusing the Christie's website a few days ago, I noticed a print attributed to William Pether "after Peter Paul Rubens."

Mark Lamster
Master of Shadows: The Cover

Behold the cover for Master of Shadows, which releases this coming October.

Rick Poynor
Barney Bubbles: Optics and Semantics

The intricately reflexive nature of his work made Barney Bubbles a true original in his time. No previous British designer had produced graphic communications this playful, personal, dense with allusion, or tricksy. Bubbles was a postmodernist before this new category of graphic design had been identified and defined, and he is as significant an innovator as his American contemporary April Greiman.

Steven Heller
My Dada

Way back in 1965, as a fifteen years old, I was an early EVOtee. I had stumbled upon one of the first issues at a newsstand. The cover, which I remember vividly, had a photo collage of a serpent emerging from battle fatigues worn by America's commanding general in Vietnam, William Westmoreland. Haunting is not a strong enough word to describe the impact that this had on a teen just a year or two out of Valley Forge Military Academy, where, surprisingly, I had learned about the military impossibility of winning the war.

Steven Heller
Draw Me Schools Of Commercial Art

Scores of advertisements, like the famous "Draw Me!" matchbook cover, offered willing aspirants the big chance to earn "$65, $80 and more a week" in "a pleasant, profitable Art career." Although the ads often shared space at the back of cheesy pulp magazines with offers to learn, well, brain surgery at home, they offered a legitimate way for anyone with a modicum of talent, limited means and an existing job to train in their spare time for a new profession.

Lawrence Weschler
The Work of Tara Donovan

In October 2008, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston opened an exhibition spanning a decade of Tara Donovan’s work. Here, she is interviewed by Lawrence Weschler.

Jessica Helfand
Second in a Series: Completions

The series, when shown on a single surface, carries with it a kind of implicit satisfaction that a series disseminated over time does not.

Rob Walker
Shared Memories

Many of the images reproduced in Scrapbooks: An American History, by Jessica Helfand, date back 50, 80, even 100 years. Reproduced in color and spread across wide pages, the anonymous scrapbook creators could hardly have imagined such a fate for their work.

Steven Heller
Where Have You Gone R. Cobb?

Jessica Helfand

What do you call book jacket design that manipulates the book jacket itself in an effort to illustrate the content of the book? Answer: biblionomatopoeia.

Adam Zagajewski
"Describing Paintings"

"Describing Painting" a poem by Adam Zagajewski from his new book Eternal Enemies.

Jessica Helfand
First In A Series: Cartophily

Mostly unified by their one-to-two format, cigarette cards revealed countless variation in topic and scope, style and personality, seriousness of purpose and goofball whimsy. If the ardent collector defines the amalgamation of disparate items by retaining a fundamental organizing principle, then what is it, exactly, that guides the maker? And enthralls the viewer?

Jessica Helfand
Reflections on the Ephemeral World, Part Two: Food

Ever since the 16th century Italian Mannerist painter Archimboldo made portraits from the detritus of his dinner, the relationship between the visual and the edible has been something of a puzzle. Welcome to the world of foodistry: design with food.

William Drenttel
Thoughts on Democracy, July 4 2008

Lorraine Wild

So, it’s 1966 and two guys are hanging around their Los Angeles apartment, musing about the sort of things that people mused about in the Sixties. The aesthetic philosophers in question were the artist Ed Ruscha and the artist/comedy writer/composer/performer Mason Williams...

Tom Vanderbilt
Blast-Door Art: Cave Paintings of Nuclear Era

Welcome to the mordant, jingoistic and occasionally crude world — but rarely before seen world — of “blast-door art�? — the cave paintings of the nuclear era.

Debbie Millman
Laurie Rosenwald

On this episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, Debbie talks with graphic designer, artist and actress Laurie Rosenwald.

Debbie Millman
Vaughan Oliver

Legendary graphic designer Vaughan Oliver is also an artist and the author of several books, including Exhibition/Exposition and This Rimy River.

James Traub
Art Rogers vs. Jeff Koons

James Traub on the Art Rogers vs. Jeff Koons legal case, perhaps relevant to recent discussions about Richard Prince's art.

Michael Bierut
The Most Hated Holiday Song in the World

Ten years ago, Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid attempted to create the most irritating song in the world. It's now available online, and it's perfect for the holidays!

Rob Walker
Tobias Wong on Consuming Consumer Consumption

Tobias Wong on Consuming Consumer Consumption.

Jessica Helfand
Science and Design: The Next Wave

Scientists probe and manipulate and channel and divide; they split and fuse and spike and engineer; but most of all, they look. As a designer, to spend any time with scientists is to become at once profoundly aware of our similarities and devastated by that which divides us.

Jessica Helfand
Stan Brakhage: Caught on Tape

For Stan Brakhage, that concentration resulted in extraordinary explorations of many things, including the life cycle of a moth, caught on adhesive strips of tape, and subsequently captured on film where it regained — however briefly — the magnificent illusion of mobility. For designers, faced by budgets and clients and deadlines, the luxury of so much isolation seems a distant, if not an altogether perverse paradigm. But are these intentions really so mutually exclusive?

Michael Bierut
Flat, Simple and Funny: The World of Charley Harper

A tribute to the late designer Charley Harper, "the only wildlife artist who has never been compared to Audubon and never will be."

Peter Good
Remembering Sol Lewitt (1928-2007)

I first met Sol Lewitt in 1986, when he and Carol and their young daughters moved to Chester, Connecticut, a small town on the Connecticut River where I have a graphic design studio. We met at an opening at the Chester Gallery...

Debbie Millman
Shepard Fairey

Designer and illustrator Shepard Fairey is the author of Supply and Demand: The Art of Shepard Fairey and Shepard Fairey: Post No Bills.

Jessica Helfand
Ad Reinhardt, Graphic Designer

Ad Reinhardt fretted about the meaning of life. He agonized about the purpose of painting. He questioned everyone, critiqued everything, and worked incessantly. In other words, he was a graphic designer.

Debbie Millman
Barbara Kruger

An interview with American artist Barbara Kruger.

Debbie Millman
Maira Kalman

An interview with the remarkable Maira Kalman — the closest thing we in the United States have to a National Treasure.

Michael Bierut
Good at Art

Growing up in the sixties, I couldn't throw or catch a baseball with authority, punch someone in the face, or shoplift. But I had something I could call my very own. I was good at art.

Debbie Millman
Andrea Deszo

An interview with designer, artist and educator Andrea Deszo.

Jessica Helfand
The Illusion of Certainty

Artist Allan McCollum aspires to an unprecedented scale with this "Shapes" project: his goal is to make enough shapes, assuming a population of approximately 9.1 billion by the year 2050, so that everyone on the planet can have one. Shapes aside, what's truly fascinating is the idea of the system: what is it about them that we hate to love and love to hate?

William Drenttel
The Good Citizen's Alphabet

Bertrand Russell had the wisdom to realize that certain words require proper definition to be used correctly in political and social discourse. This alphabet book is offered here as a slide show for our readers.

Dmitri Siegel
Interface Space

Contemporary artists make physical versions of interface elements.

Debbie Millman
Paola Antonelli

An interview with Paola Antonelli, curator in the department of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art.  

Jessica Helfand
The Propensity for Density

It's like design's been on a diet and finally gets to eat that giant cheesecake: shifting notches on the belt buckle, we're so happy for the sugar high that we don't realize we're slipping. And slipping we are.

William Drenttel
Meet Me in St. Louis: The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts makes the radical assumption that the experience of art is about contemplation. Take your time. You are alone here. The light will change if you stay long enough.

Lawrence Weschler
Languorous Bodyscapes

"The long, languid spread of her body makes the first and most lasting impression." And more on these sorts of landscape-bodyscape slippages by this seasoned The New Yorker writer, and recent author of Everything That Rises : A Book of Convergences.

Debbie Millman
Ellen Lupton

An interview with Ellen Lupton — writer, educator, designer and a Curator of Contemporary Design at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Julie Lasky
Edward Hopper, Village Person

My friend opened the door to a minimally furnished skylit room. It had a pot-bellied stove, a painter's easel, and photos framed on the wall of a grim man with long legs. The room was the studio of Edward Hopper. (Slide show by Duane Michals.)

Jessica Helfand
Face Value

Facial transplants mapping our future: how much is the world of design responsible?

Jessica Helfand
Cease and Design

Where graphic design education is concerned, more doing and less asking is necessary.

William Drenttel
David Hughes: Caricaturist of Our Time

But my favorite, in recent years, is the British illustrator David Hughes. I yearn for his drawings, look for them in my favorite publications, and save them whenever and wherever I find them.

Jessica Helfand
On Considering the Source

As primary sources of inspiration in art become a rarified reality, one is forced to wonder where are the original, the unmediated and the pure, sans cliche?

Michael Bierut
Four Years After

After four years of ambiguity and contention and the World Trade Center site, Ellsworth Kelly's 2003 proposal seems wiser than ever.

Rick Poynor
Vladimir’s House and Garden of Earthly Delights

Spending two weeks in Vladimir Beck's house on the island of Vrnik in Croatia made me question, yet again, rigid distinctions between artist and designer. Here, it's impossible to separate the two. Beck has designed every feature with a high degree of thought for what might make a domicile located in such a setting pleasurable and practical to live in.

William Drenttel
Catastrophic Imaginings: The Design of Disaster

In the end, artificial disasters are designed to elicit and test the responses of participants. In their recording, both allow for a post-mortem evaluation. How did I do? How would I respond? Would I sit patiently in my car a mile up the road? Would I watch from my window, safe in my home?

Rick Poynor
In Memoriam: My Manual Typewriter

The fully evolved typewriter is a 20th-century industrial archetype. It feels inevitable, almost elemental, like one of those object types, such as a chair or a fork, that simply had to exist in this universe of forms.

Michael Bierut
The Man Who Saved Jackson Pollock

Herbert Matter, the designer who stored away a cache of recently-discovered Jackson Pollock paintings, deserves a similar rediscovery.

Rick Poynor
Mevis and Van Deursen: Rueful Recollections, Recycled Design

In their self-edited monograph, Dutch graphic designers Mevis and Van Deursen turn their backs on their professed commitment to ideas and treat the book mainly as an opportunity for undemanding aesthetic play.

Rick Poynor
Eduardo Paolozzi, 20th Century Image-Maker

If a visual artist created more concentrated, exhilarating images of science, technology and the media realm during the mid-20th century than British artist Eduardo Paolozzi, then I would like to see them. Paolozzi, who died on 22 April aged 81, was first of all a sculptor, but the screenprints he produced in the 1960s rank as masterpieces of the medium.

Michael Bierut
Homage to the Squares

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's exhibition Design is not Art provides a useful contrast to an simultaneous exhibition of the work of Josef and Anni Albers, and demonstrates differences between art and design.

Jessica Helfand
Scrapbooking: The New Paste-Up

"Craft-born embellishments," note one supplier of scrapbooking products, "are penetrating an unexpected market: graphic design."

Michael Bierut
Designing Under the Influence

The similarity of a young designer's work to that of the artist Barbara Kruger provides the starting point for a discussion of the role of influence in design, and whether it is possible for someone to "own" a specific style.

Jessica Helfand
Our Bodies, Our Fonts

Body markings — piercings, tattoos and so forth — have recently evolved into a kind of marginalized form of graphic expression, yet one that sheds an unusual light on some of the more mainstream ways in which design often reveals itself.

Kenneth Krushel
The Gates

Much has been written about Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "Gates" project in Central Park in New York City. In the past few days, though, we have received two further reports on this project which we want to share with our readers: an essay by Ken Krushel and a photographic portfolio by Adam Bartos.

Jessica Helfand
The New Paper Chase: Cyberspace on The Auction Block

On February 23,
Christies in New York will auction more than 1,000 items dating as far back as the early 17th century, all of it tracing the history of cyberspace.
Julie Lasky
Christo's Agent Orange

Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Central Park gates lack that magnetic, landscape-transforming power. Could this be owing not just to the way the gates drive viewers to seek greater heights of sensation, but also to the off-putting emergency color, the subtle grid of the rip-stop nylon reminiscent of quick escapes from troubled aircraft?

Michael Bierut
The Best Artist in the World

Alton Tobey, a little-known commercial illustrator, created a body of work in the early sixties that continues to inspire.

William Drenttel
Bird in Hand: When Does A Copy Become Plagiarism?

Jessica Helfand
An Instrument of Sufficiently Lucid Cogitation

The legendary French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson, who died on Tuesday at his home in the South of France, always carried a sketchbook with him. Today's obituary in The New York Times alleges that he described drawing as meditative, while photography was intuitive: though certainly both activities might have been informed by a relentless need to observe and in a sense, preserve the world around him.

Rick Poynor
Britain and America: United in Idiocy

What do Brits and Americans think of each other? In Us & Them, a book by the satirical British illustrator Paul Davis, the two countries have one thing in common: they are both equally stupid. That’s not saying much.

Michael Bierut
Ed Ruscha: When Art Rises to the Level of Graphic Design

A retrospective of the drawings of Ed Ruscha raises the question: is he an artist or a graphic designer?

Michael Bierut
McSweeney's No. 13 and the Revenge of the Nerds

McSweeney's No. 13, published by Dave Eggers and guest edited by Chris Ware, is a masterwork of publication design and an invaluable survey of today's best comic artists and graphic novelists.

Rick Poynor
Critics and Their Purpose

Pulling a 1960s art magazine from the shelf, I opened it at random to find a long list of thoughts about art criticism assembled in 1966 by students at the Royal College of Art in London. Many of these ideas apply to design.

William Drenttel
El Lissitzky for Pesach

Jessica Helfand
The Crisis of Intent

William Drenttel
Rationalizing Absence

James Turrell's influence on World Trade Tower memorial design.

William Drenttel
Adolf Wölfli Invents Design Brut?

Mr. Gomez has taken your basic 19th-century-madman-artist and turned him into a model 20th century graphic designer.

Michael Bierut
Mark Lombardi and the Ecstasy of Conspiracy

Artist Mark Lombardi's intricate handdrawn diagrams describing the relationships behind contemporary political and financial scandals are both beautiful objects and extraordinary feats of information design.

Jessica Helfand
On Visual Empathy

In a world besieged by unpredictable atrocities, don't we all feel a little emotionally raw? Two recent articles in suggest that visual empathy may more critical to a productive imagination than we thought.

Jessica Helfand
The Art of Elegant Abstraction

Bill Morrison's surprising 66-minute film is now playing on the Sundance Channel. For listings, see:

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