The Ur-Paperback →
marycaple: An experimental layout by Jan Tschichold and Erik Ellegaard Frederiksen for Penguin Books, 1948 This great handmade layout for what now seems like a ubiquitous mass produced series—maybe the ur-paperback—reminded me of a piece I wrote for Metropolis long ago on remaking the Penguin line, Penguin Goes Punk. The whole story is slightly quaint now in terms of repackaging...
For My German Readers
Are there any? No idea. My critique of Morphosis’s 41 Cooper Square was just republished in Baumeister. As time goes on my negative impressions of this building are coloring my previous positive feeling about all of Mayne’s work. Maybe he never makes a nice place. I was too stunned by the bigness of it all. Is that a good message for students? What all these day-to-day bits of...
Now What? Or, Beware Panels
Last night after I got back from The Changing State of the Design Press: Now What? I wrote a long crabby post about how boring it was, and also tweeted to that effect. The panel, featuring Julie Iovine of Architect’s Newspaper, Robert Ivy of Architectural Record, John Hill of A Daily Dose of Architecture, and Michael Sorkin, of himself, was at the Center for Architecture. But a minute...
Confessions and Criticism
I am not a fan of TMI, the confessional mode, or the sense one gets that the best way to make it as a woman in the media business is to write about yourself. Can’t you tell? But in Curtis Sittenfeld’s interview with Meghan Daum and Emily Gould in this week’s New York Magazine, there is some interesting material that seems applicable to women writing as critics—a field...
One of the pleasures of teaching is when your students actually surprise you. I assigned my current class of NYU undergraduates a review of the Museum of Arts & Design (not one of my favorites, tho Slash was great) and several managed to come up with bold new metaphors for the building in context. Their take on it was more interesting than that of most of the professional critics, largely...
Via bobulate: New York City as business
bobulate: Mayor Michael Bloomberg runs New York City like a business. It started three years ago: [O]n Earth Day, the Mayor launched PlaNYC, a comprehensive, long-term sustainability plan that has become recognized by other cities not only for its exceptional achievements, but for the innovative process with which it was developed. Mayor Bloomberg championed PlaNYC and shepherded its...
Carolina on... (no, I just can't do it)
I grew up in Durham, NC and my whole immediate family lives there today. I often recommend it to friends desperate to escape the high cost of ownership in the tri-state area. And yet, everything cool that has happened in Durham and environs has happened since I left. There was no foodie culture, no downtown farmers market, just one renovated tobacco factory, no art house movie theater, no...
Approving of the Approval Matrix
Who says criticism is dead? Bravo just bought the TV show based on New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix and developed by one of my first bosses at New York Magazine, Michael Hirschorn. (Yes, I keep referring to the olden days at New York. I learned a lot while always wearing the wrong thing. Since this week the magazine referred to someone in their late 30s as a member of an older...
All in the Execution
From Ian Baldwin, review of The Grid Book (Christmas gift, as yet unread, on my bedside shelf), in Metropolis: …we need more books to be what The Grid Book sets out to be: a scholarly, cross-disciplinary design history for the educated reader. There are too many coffee-table image tomes, exercises in academic esoterica, and middlebrow “The true story of how X changed the world” ...
Sometimes You Just Want to Eat
From Elif Bautman, Letter from Istanbul: The Memory Kitchen, in the New Yorker: “The people’s” lost food is rescued not only from disappearance or mechanization but from foodie fetishism… Musa, who read Hegel as a young man, sees the plight of food culture in Marxist terms. The forces of industrialization and commodification have alienated people from what they eat, and...
Please Join Us
Elroy Webber, Kuzon House, Longmeadow, MA; Ezra Stoller/ESTO I went to Gary Hustwit’s lecture last night at D-Crit (next Tuesday: David Barringer) and he teased the third film in his design trilogy (after Helvetica, Objectified). Topic TBA next week, one assumes via Twitter. Being at D-Crit, and seeing all the second-year students reminded me that I have yet to highlight the upcoming...
Governors Island, ca. 2014?
Image from the long-under-wraps West 8 master plan for Governors Island. City takeover announced Sunday. I remember the mounds from Round One, but I am waiting to see a plan. More here. The unrenovated island opens to the public June 5. FIGMENT is already planning a new art mini-golf course, and an architect-designed pavilion a la P.S.1.
Every Thing Design: Can I Play Too?
Alice Rawsthorn, whom I generally want to grow up to be, writes in today’s T about Every Thing Design, Dutch designer Irma Boom’s latest book based on the collections of the Museum of Design, Zurich. As Mark Lamster has already tweeted, it is another very very big book. 864 pages, mostly objects selected by Boom, working with the curators, and from photographs. Rawsthorn...
On Knowing Where The End Is
I showed my NYU architecture criticism class the recent documentary on Julius Shulman, Visual Acoustics, last week. (Shulman died last year, and this Fast Company slideshow was one among many tributes to his work.) I had to stop the doc before it was done, I got so restless. While the material was fascinating, and Shulman, along with his follow 90-year-olds, charming, the film seemed uncertain...
Anthony Lane Fugs Too
On The Clash of the Titans: … while [Liam] Neeson, as team leader, comes wrapped in so much aluminum foil that, if I were an attendant mortal, I wouldn’t quite know whether to worship him or take him out every hour and baste him. It goes on from there. What’s better than a pan with an imaginary British accent?
Has the High Line Ruined Us?
Ouroussoff reviewed it Friday (no further comment). D-Crit student Frederico Duarte fills in the backstory. I went to Brooklyn Bridge Park on opening day in the pouring rain with stroller. Never has the lack of snacks and bathrooms seemed so desperate. So I went back this morning for a real look. It was sunny. Everyone seemed to be having fun. Line out the door at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory....
Standard Brands, Warren Platner; Ezra Stoller/Esto There’s a theme in the comments on my Design Observer piece on design blogs, The Vacuum of Enthusiasm, that there is little for me to say about. Namely, the lack of audience for design blogs, or design magazines (or architecture magazines, for that matter, but I was rightly critiqued for lumping the two too much together). I don’t...