Monday, May 31, 2010

Pard Morrison

Pard Morrison: Vivacity in patinated aluminum sculptures. Intense color and purity with an exuberance that is almost musical. It is a forever love.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dennis Hopper

This video clip contains profanity and violence and is definitely not safe for work.

Recently, Dennis Hopper made an appearance to accept his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Gaunt and pale, and ravaged by cancer, he was surrounded by long time friends and fans who recognized his phenomenal talent. Hopper died last night, leaving a unique legacy of film, art, photography, intelligence and intensity.

In 1986, Dennis Hopper was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Hoosiers, playing a recovering alcoholic immobilized by his shame. He was good, even great, but he so deserved the nod for playing the villainous Frank Booth in the David Lynch film, Blue Velvet released that same year. Once you meet Frank Booth, you'll never forget him.

Joan of Arc

I like Joan of Arc best of all my books; and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing. The others need no preparation and got none.
--Mark Twain

Gaston Bussiere , Joan of Arc, 1908

The work wrought by Joan of Arc may fairly be regarded as ranking with any in history, when one considers the conditions under which it was undertaken, the obstacles in the way, and the means at her disposal. Caesar carried conquest far, but he did it with the trained and confident veterans of Rome, and was a trained soldier himself; and Napoleon swept away the disciplined armies of Europe, but he also was a trained soldier, and he began his work with patriot battalions inflamed and inspired by the miracle-working new breath of Liberty breathed upon them by the Revolution - eager young apprentices to the splendid trade of war, not old and broken men-at-arms, despairing survivors of an age-long accumulation of monotonous defeats; but Joan of Arc, a mere child in years, ignorant, unlettered, a poor village girl unknown and without influence, found a great nation lying in chains, helpless and hopeless under an alien domination, its treasury bankrupt, its soldiers disheartened and dispersed, all spirit torpid, all courage dead in the hearts of the people through long years of foreign and domestic outrage and oppression, their King cowed, resigned to its fate, and preparing to fly the country; and she laid her hand upon this nation, this corpse, and it rose and followed her. She led it from victory to victory, she turned back the tide of the Hundred Years’ War, she fatally crippled the English power, and died with the earned title of Deliver of France, which she bears to this day.

And for all reward, the French King whom she had crowned stood supine and indifferent while French priests took the noble child, the most innocent, the most lovely, the most adorable the ages have produced, and burned her alive at the stake.

--Joan of Arc, by Mark Twain, Chapter 1

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ship Curves

Treasure! Vintage wood ship curves from England. Oh, if you could feel their smooth surface, and see their golden patina. Most technical drawing (drafting) can be done on a computer. For those that prefer to draw on paper, plastic ship curve sets are available. So you see, this delicate wooden family is quite precious.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Locked and loaded

The family that plays together....just about everything is wrong with this vintage ad.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Louise Bourgeois

When he lived in New York, my good friend M. worked for Louise Bourgeois in her creaky but stupendous home. That puts me one degree from an artist, writer
and fierce spirit I have long admired. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New cover

Artist/Musician John Squire created the paintings used for several books that
are part of Penguin Publishing's 75th anniversary celebration.
His work is lean, mysterious and so very beautiful.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ode to pie

Kate Greenaway devoted every letter in the alphabet to a single apple pie.

Monday, May 24, 2010


I'm not sure how I'll display these vintage circus labels, but they're so vibrant and fun.
When I read the same word over and over, it becomes abstract, losing all meaning.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


High hair= high-maintenance. Beware of styles with names.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Marilyn Monroe in a black trench coat and fedora, photos by Bert Stern.
Nearly always seen in flimsy, or form fitting clothing that suggests
openness and vulnerability, the dark coat and hat look strangely out of place.

Friday, May 21, 2010

You Don't Know Me

I can listen to Ray Charles sing this song again and again. His voice
is so beautifully emotive, his playing is so powerful,
he never needs any back up singers.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Clothes for the Larger (than life) Man

Gold standard

Up close and personal

Nudie Cohn (seated) with Gram Parsons

Hank Snow suit (the tie is made from tin!)

Nudie Cohn created colorful costumes embedded with rhinestones, embroidery and charisma. To thine own self be true.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

10 List: Brand Loyal

No place is really nice unless you have a typewriter. You can do without a woman but you can't do without a typewriter.
-- Charles Bukowski

Last year, Cormac McCarthy's light blue Lettera 32 Olivetti manual typewriter sold at Christie's auction house for $254, 500. Although computers deliver speed, efficiency, and the bells and whistles of infinite cyberspace, they lack the distinction and personality of typewriters.

Jack Kerouac: Underwood Portable Royal Standard

John Steinbeck: Hermes Baby

Charles Bukowski:Olympia SG
Hunter S. Thompson : IBM Selectric (in red)
David Sedaris: Olivetti Lettera 32, IBM Selectric
Herman Hesse: Remington Quiet Deluxe
Joyce Carol Oates: SCM Smith Corona Electra
Harper Lee: Underwood Portable
Saul Bellow: Royal KMG

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Raymond Loewy

It would seem that more than function itself, simplicity is the deciding factor in the aesthetic equation. One might call the process beauty through function and simplification.
--Raymond Loewy

Mr. & Mrs. Loewy in St. Tropez

The Studebaker Avanti

The Anscoflex II camera

Streamlined pencil sharpener

Le Creuset casseroles

French born Raymond Loewy (1893-1986) arrived in New York at age 26 with nothing but his military uniform and fifty dollars in his pocket. From modest beginnings in fashion illustration and window dressing, he evolved into the preeminent visionary of industrial design. He worked as a consultant for hundreds of corporations, designing everything from buses, tableware, refrigerators, soda dispensers, cigarette packs, logos, radios, automobiles and furniture. After seven decades of designing, the scope of his influence is immense, if not immeasurable.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo share a kiss at the Detroit Institute of Arts, photo by Florence Arquin 1932

Hot or not

The Bubble Home by Antti Lovag

Nike Shox

Y Water, bottle as toy

Dig in (but how?)

At what point does clever become silly? When does design teeter towards over designed?

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Prom season has officially arrived. Do you have lots of girlfriends willing to color-coordinate? If these lovely ladies could be transported in an Easter basket instead of a limousine, everything would be perfect.


Adolf Ferdinand Konrad, 1962

Dance list

Oscar Bluemner, 1932

Pablo Picasso, 1912 (Duchamp is misspelled)

From the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art, Curator of Manuscripts Liza Kirwin shares unexpected lists from distinguished creatives. Lively and colorful, the lists offer unusual and intimate insight; imagine Picasso jotting down names of his contemporaries like picking a dodgeball team! An exhibition of the artifacts, Lists: To-Dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art is currently on display at the Smithsonian's Lawrence A. Fleishman Gallery until September 2010. An exhibition book is available here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What remains

Tunnel for the sake of tunneling.

If you've noticed the ghost remains of bricked up windows, stairways that lead to sealed over doors, bridges and walls that were only partially built, you've detected Thomassons.

Akasegawa Genpei coined the term 'hyperart' to describe urban objects and structures that had grown defunct and useless over time, but for reasons of economy or lack of concern were never removed or destroyed. Instead, they became part of the landscape and maintained accordingly. Akasegawa specifically named the odd items, "Thomassons" after American League outfielder Gary Thomasson, who signed with the Japanese baseball team, the Yomiuri Giants. Although he was highly paid, he performed poorly, nearly setting a record for strikeouts.

Once useful, but now extinct.

Akasegawa wrote a magazine column, regularly describing the Thomassons he discovered and developed a following with readers who also sent in photos of curious, futile objects. The collection of columns and photos were published as a book, released in Japan.

The English version is now available.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Grape science

Winemaking is a careful blend of art and science. Wines of Substance, a Washington State Winery, had a 'Eureka!' moment incorporating the Periodic Table of Elements
in the design of their labels.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spot light

I love these lamps by Chen Karlsson. They remind me of the
tiny magical worlds found in snow globes, terrariums and bell jars.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Good-bye Lost

This month, viewers can tune in to see the final episode of the ABC series Lost. Now in its sixth season, executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have promised that all the many questions regarding the mysteries of 'the island' will be answered. After years of watching the band of plane crash survivors struggle with the 'others', the smoke monster, the hatch, flashbacks and flash forwards, and the occasional disappearance of a major character, that's a promise of epic proportion.

The first two seasons, arguably the best in terms of writing, were mainly devoted to introducing an unusually large cast; unraveling their back stories and their secrets with the grace of Scheherazade. As it with drama, each character was conflicted; bad deeds but a good heart, well intentioned but addicted to drugs and so on. Plenty of time was spent on pairing up couples, though it came as no surprise that the romances were as much about power as the general survivor dynamic.

Remarkable writing and solid performances can seduce any viewer, even those not given to following weekly television shows. I was most drawn to the terribly damaged yet deeply hopeful John Locke, the fiercely loyal Sun-Hwa Kwon, and the spiritual leader and former drug warlord Mr. Eko. The actors Terry O'Quinn, Yunjin Kim and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje who played these characters are astonishingly great performers.

Viewership waned in subsequent seasons, but I stayed with it despite reservations. For the final season, a new device coined the flash-sideways was instituted and I had to throw in the proverbial towel. It was bad enough that the Smoke Monster became a major player, but to divide each episode with two timelines: what if the plane had never crashed? And, what if the bomb exploded and several characters could somehow return from the dead? Mysteries aside, that's wa-aay too much to ask, and I'm a fan of good supernatural/ghost/zombie stories.

Imagine if a friend of many years, someone that shared family myths, and 'don't tell anyone' secrets and heartbreak stories, suddenly admitted that none of it actually happened, or maybe just random bits and pieces were a little true. It'd be strangely off-putting, right? Endings can be bittersweet, but some endings bring relief.