Sometimes collage gets a bad rap. It can conjure up unfortunate images of old ladies scrap-booking and decoupaging to their heart’s content, but the art of cut and paste plays a much more significant role in the world than in the confines of the pages of family photo albums and shell-covered trinkets. Influenced by surrealism, constructivism and Dada, the technique was firmly established as an art form in the 1920s and 30s and continues to inspire a new generation of young artists and illustrators who are discovering the art form for themselves for the first time.
It almost makes too much sense that some of the most awe-inspiring architecture around the world today just so happens to be religious spaces. Whether that means a church, a synagogue or meditation center, the structures in Gestalten’s latest release, Closer to God, are anything but traditional. Gone are the high, vaulted ceilings and ornately embellished altars and alcoves that staunch Roman Catholics hold so dear. These spaces are clean and modern, with hardly a stained-glass window in sight.
Since its creation in 1999, Faile, the Brooklyn street art collaboration between Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, has had an overwhelming influence on “low art” and “high art” alike. Beginning with wheatpaste and stencils, the classic tools of the trade, Faile gradually moved onto printmaking, painting, sculpture and multimedia installations, maintaining their signature collage-style throughout. Their ability to branch out in other mediums is what ultimately established them as legitimate artists. Their recent work, which includes “customized Buddhist prayer wheels and an American flag reworked with Pueblo-inspired linework, relies on re-imagining sacred objects on an increasingly grand scale.”
Gestalten’s latest release, “Urban Interventions” is really just a nice way of saying pranks. Artsy pranks, in this case. Simple, clever, public attention-getters like a banner on the side of a building that reads: The secret of happiness is t- before the rest is torn off. Like all good art there’s something deeper at work, but the important thing about these pieces is that they’re fun and playful, like the giant wad of gum stretched out between two buildings.
“Paper Cut,” just one part of the Graphic Design Festival in the Netherlands, is a survey of designers and artists working not just on paper, but with paper as the primary medium. From simple and playful pieces made using the basic techniques we all experimented with in grade school like cutting, folding, gluing and collage to…
The title of Gestalten’s latest release can either be read as a command or an exclamation of excitement at the pages awaiting the reader within. Read both ways it’s an economic comment as in, if you’re going to be picky about how you finance your nights out, you might as well go where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. In that way, “Eat Out!” is a gustatory directory worth its weight in gold, profiling some of the most thoughtfully designed spaces on the planet. But more than just a coffee table book on interior design, it investigates the ritual of eating and how your environment shapes that experience.
One of the most exciting books on the Gestalten roster for 2010 is Sven Voelker’s “Go Faster: The Graphic Design of Racing Cars,” which pays homage to how cool race cars look. There are plenty of books about the mechanics of the cars, but hardly any on their graphic design. “This book deals with the simple fact that racing cars only really become racing cars when they are covered with colorful livery and decals. After all, who would put a plain white Ferrari on a real racing circuit?”
If you read the New York Times blog “Abstract City,” then you know him by name. If you’ve ever looked at a cover of The New Yorker you’ve probably seen his work. And if you’ve done neither then perhaps you can at least appreciate when a bathroom is clearly marked “Men” or “Women;” If you do you share a fundamental principle with designer, illustrator and art director Christoph Niemann. Like a good comedian, Neimann’s deceptively simple designs have a way of presenting common knowledge in a new and interesting way. Of course, an intuitive sense of color and composition don’t hurt.
What does it say about the state of art today when we’re almost shocked when an artist says that their process does not involve digital media? Olaf Hajek, who’s more comfortable working in a hands-on “analog style,” is one such artist. Or is he an illustrator? Certainly he belongs to the school of artists who walk the line between client-driven work that is so true to his natural style that it’s difficult to label him as a commercial artist. Illustrative fine art? Honestly, who cares.
Hungarian typographer and graphic designer Aron Jansco used to doodle during class. “My schools weren’t too strict,” he says, so he had a lot of time for drawing graffiti and letterforms. Graffiti still remains a big part of his design style, though you wouldn’t know it to look at Ogaki, his very first type face,…
“World Series,” Brian Dettmer’s take on the encyclopedia
Of the artists profiled in Gestalten’s recent release Papercraft, Brian Dettmer steals the show. All the artists are doing interesting things with paper, but Dettmer is on another level altogether. More than an artist who works with paper, Dettmer is a book sculptor, or maybe book surgeon is more accurate. He’s so meticulous in his execution, it’s more like he’s performing a book autopsy than working as an artist in a studio.
“Pressed, Stained, Slashed, Folded” was the name of the MoMA exhibit this past March that focused on works made with paper as the main ingredient. As someone who loves not only works on paper, but works that showcase its abilities as a material, I was extremely disappointed. As the title indicates, it seems they could…
When a structure breaks down in many parts of Africa (mud and straw don’t last forever), the inhabitants build a new one nearby without tearing the old one down or making use of its parts. In Las Vegas, casinos only a decade old are imploded to make way for something bigger, grander and most importantly, new. Everyone has their own methods, but, in general, they all involve too much waste. What if there was a way we could update and reuse old buildings, “bringing new life and function to existing structures?”
Who says architecture is just about buildings? To European design studios Feld72 and Raumlabor, architecture is a more loosely defined term that encompasses all aspects of social and urban interaction. Take the traffic jam project, in which members of Feld72 rode on motorscooters in between lanes of slow-moving traffic, handing drivers activity packs stuffed with…