Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fire and passion

"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours."


Happy new year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Think different.

The 1997 Apple Computer slogan, 'Think different', was created by the TBWA\Chiat\Day advertising agency. It was used in commercials and print ads, the latter utilizing stark black and white photos of prominent, historic figures without any mention of Apple's products. Apple consistently raises the bar for beautiful design and packaging, and though their advertisements move forward accordingly, that 1997 campaign was unforgettable,

Frank Sinatra
Muhammad Ali
Jackie Robinson
Pablo Picasso
Thomas Edison
Frank Capra
John Lennon & Yoko Ono

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Charlotte Perriand

Charlotte Perriand: architect, designer, visionary. This photo, part of the 2006 exhibition at the Pompidou, captures her gutsy, adventurous spirit, remarkably ahead of her time.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Eva Zeisel, maker of things

She is 103 years old. In this clip, made when she was still in her nineties, Eva Zeisel discusses her life and work with such modesty. Her designs have changed very little over 75 years; the sleek lines of her sculptural pieces have such an elegant presence.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sherlock Holmes

Those faithful to the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or the black and white film series starring Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as John Watson will undoubtedly be flummoxed by the Guy Ritchie version of the genius detective and his loyal physician friend. Ritchie is worlds removed from Victorian era London, the original setting for Doyle's stories, and the influence of contemporary films like the Harry Potter and Matrix series, and the use of cheesy CGI effects and slow motion fight sequences muddle his attempt to modernize a classic.

Still, the casting of Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. Watson works so well. Ritchie's films are typically male-centric but in Sherlock Holmes the two leads share so many of the scenes with just each other, it's essential that they share real chemistry. The former girlfriend and fiancée, played respectively by Rachel McAdams and Kelly Reilly, add little to the already convoluted story, and nothing to the sharp repartee and playful mischief between Downey Jr. and Law. Girls, there's just no competing with a man's best friend who will bail him out of jail, pay his gambling debts, follow him into dark alleys and share battle with greasy thugs.

Regrettably, beyond the inspired pairing of Downey Jr. and Law, the writers struggle with a cohesive story but maintain a frantic pace with fights and explosions galore. After 120 minutes, Downey Jr. is burdened by his summary of the preposterous 'case', which sounds a lot like the recap at the end of every 'Scooby Doo' cartoon mystery. While that sort of exposition breaks every rule of effective writing, his appeal and talent will likely persuade a sequel.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


CARMEN LOMAS GARZA paints images of family life and traditions of Mexican Americans inspired by her memories and experiences growing up in south Texas. Rich with color, each painting evokes a story alive with detail and spirit, which she describes in A Piece of my Heart.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Joyeux Noël

Notre Dame, Paris

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Blickensderfer typewriters... obsolete yet marvelous.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Bible Illuminated

In 2006 the Hammer Museum elevated the world of cartooning with their exhibition, Masters of American Comics, which featured 15 of the most influential artists working in the medium. Included in the roster was Robert Crumb, whose work ranged from greeting cards, the explicit Fritz the Cat, Weirdo Magazine, and collaborations with Charles Bukowski and Harvey Pekar.

The Bible Illuminated, an exhibition of R. Crumb's adaptation of the first book of the Old Testament is currently on view at the museum. Incorporating the entire text of The Book of Genesis with 207 black and white drawings, Crumb's ambitious project will reach a unique audience, perhaps many that have never read the Good Book before. You can purchase The Book of Genesis, published by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., here.

The exhibition ends February 7, 2010.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Participation is mandatory

From Roland Reiner Tiangco, a pigment coated poster that requires your participation to reveal the message, "The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Form follows function

Function follows virtuosity: three examples of furniture that transcend their
original purpose and display as fine art.

'La Chaise' by Ray and Charles Eames

'Table with Legs' by Meret Oppenheim

'Mexique Bookcase' by Charlotte Perriand

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Jean Prouvé

In 1930 Jean Prouvé, certainly one of the greatest French designers of the 20th century, helped establish the Union of Modern Artists whose manifesto read, "We like logic, balance and purity."

The elegance and minimalism of his designs embody the modernist vision of a future both uncomplicated and streamlined. He designed the school desks pictured between 1930-1940. Fantastic!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Elvis at 21

"Henri Cartier-Bresson was known for photographing what he called the 'decisive moment,' that moment when everything falls into place. But I was more interested in the moments before or after the decisive moment."

In 1956, RCA Records sent photographer Alfred Wertheimer to take pictures of a recently signed new artist, Elvis Presley. This was before his meteroic stardom, when he could still sit in a diner like anyone else. Wertheimer captured remarkably intimate moments of him, relaxed and uninhibited as he goes about his business.

An exhibition of those historic photos opens on January 8, 2010 (what would have been the King's 75th birthday), at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. Developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the National Portrait Gallery and the Govinda Gallery, and sponsored by The History Channel, the exhibit will travel the USA through 2012. A fine catalog, Elvis at 21, lavishly illustrated with 172 photos is available here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

When science and art converge

The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics by Norton Juster

Between the Folds, a film by Vanessa Gould.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Stunning, ethereal images of swimmers by photographer Wayne Levin, available at the Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco. I want!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Whatever happens, we've got us.

Good times, good friends.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Shadow puppets

Sublime shadow puppets from Orange Moon Toys.

Imagine the fun dialogue you can invent for the giant squid tormenting Captain Nemo, or any of the monsters!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fun in numbers

Multiple sets of identical twins dressed in the same outfit sit across from one another in a subway car creating the illusion of a mirror. Hundreds of people walk their 'invisible' dogs around the city streets. A large group of commuters hit the morning rush hour in their underwear. Madness? No, the staged happenings are designed and orchestrated by the New York based comedy group Improv Everywhere, who according to the website create "scenes of chaos and joy in public places."

The public pranks which the group calls 'missions' often use hundreds of performers, some recruited by their website mailing list. Occasionally, the police have been called and sporadically some members have been led away in handcuffs. A book about their stunts was released in the spring of 2009.

Anybody can donate their time to a soup kitchen or shelter or school. It takes people of a different mettle to change the world by riding the subway in their underwear.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I've seen all sorts of renditions of the nativity on cozy mantels or in front of churches. Some are large and exquisitely sculpted, or small and handmade out of corn husks, wood and even play-doh.

The annual Santa Monica Nativity Scenes display will open in Palisades Park along Ocean Avenue today. The 14 life-size dioramas describing the story of the birth of Christ are comprised of mannequins dressed in robes, with expressionless faces one can hardly imagine roaming the desert. This has been a Santa Monica tradition for 52 years. In all that time no one has thought to make a single improvement, mainly that the story of the nativity is best seen through a chain link fence.