When thinking about the masterpieces in MoMA’s collection, one might be forgiven for visualizing Picasso’s Demoiselles (1907) or Jackson Pollock’s One (1950). The canon of visual art and design—a force that has shaped popular opinion—has, for centuries, held large-scale painting in high regard. Even the Oxford Dictionary entry for “masterpiece”—(noun): A work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship”—uses Picasso as its defining example. Read more
Posts tagged ‘graphic design’
When Massimo Vignelli, one of the greatest graphic designers of the 20th century, was close to death in mid-May, his son Luca informed the whole design community—at Vignelli’s request—so we could say goodbye with our thoughts and with a letter. Read more
In honor of NYCxDESIGN—New York City’s official citywide celebration of design—MoMA Design Store is pleased to present a suite of products brought to life by Kickstarter.
Since Kickstarter launched five years ago, thousands of people on all seven continents (even Antarctica!) have used the platform to share their ideas, shape the world around us, and design the future.
By involving the public in the creative process, Kickstarter uses the power of community to help designers take great ideas from concept to reality. The collection includes 24 new products made by 20 international designers; from captivating timepieces to quirky wall hooks, illuminated sculptures to robots for kids, all of these designs were created by people like you, supported by people like you, and now exist for people like you to enjoy.
These extraordinary objects embody the qualities of Good Design ascribed by the Museum in their innovation of function, use of novel materials, and technological advancement.
The MoMA Design Store and Kickstarter honor these individuals and their designs as examples of how everyone is capable of making incredible things.
The Impossible Project was founded on the conviction that analog things have value in a digital world. In 2008, the company purchased the world’s last remaining Polaroid film factory in The Netherlands with the goal of recasting an outdated production process for a new age, and their newest design, the Impossible Instant Lab, successfully bridges the old and new in a tangible way.
Juxtaposing classic analog developing techniques with contemporary digital technology, the Instant Lab transforms any digital image from your iPhone or iPod Touch into a real analog instant photo right before your eyes.
Designed to reduce energy waste and increase the longevity of devices, the Powerslayer Phone Charger Kit automatically stops charging once it detects that your device is completely powered up. Backed by 597 project supporters on Kickstarter[/caption]
Even after they have fully charged, electronic devices continue to draw power; in fact, mobile phones and tablets can draw at least half as much power after they’re fully charged as they do while charging. In addition to jacking up electricity bills, the extra draw can actually decrease your phone battery’s ability to hold power and can ultimately decrease the life of your device. Designed to reduce energy waste and increase the longevity of devices, Powerslayer automatically stops charging once it detects that your device is completely powered up.
Perfect for traveling parents and grandparents, or relatives who live across the world, Toymail Mailmen™ allow grown-ups to stay connected with the kids they love through fun, Wi-Fi-enabled characters. This new breed of smart toy connects wirelessly to your home network to receive messages sent anytime, from anywhere in the world. Using the free app, adults can send children little messages and reminders throughout the day that can be delivered in their own voice or in the mailman’s silly voice.
Years before the first photographic print, there was the camera lucida. Originally patented in 1807, this clever optical device by physicist Sir William Hyde Wollaston utilized a prism to project an image onto a piece of paper so it could be traced, a method that dramatically altered the way artists, naturalists, scientists, and architects created drawings from life. Created by two art professors, the NeoLucida is the first portable camera lucida drawing aid to be manufactured in decades. Bringing the favored tool of the Old Masters to a new generation of artists and art lovers, the NeoLucida uses an optical trick to superimpose the scene in front of you onto a sheet of paper so that you can trace your subject with ease.
Chinese is one of the oldest written languages, and with more than 20,000 unique characters, it’s also one of the most difficult to master. After struggling to teach her own children how to read Chinese, ShaoLan Hsueh teamed up with renowned illustrator Noma Bar to create Chineasy, a groundbreaking and fun approach to learning the language that transforms key Chinese characters into whimsical pictograms for easy recall and comprehension.
Capturing the warmth and nostalgia of viewing treasured memories through an old-fashioned slide carousel, Projecteo is a pocket-sized slide projector that transforms your Instagram pictures into personalized slideshows that can be shared with family and friends.
This special edition of Projecteo from the MoMA Design Store includes a photo wheel with iconic artwork from MoMA’s collection, views of the Museum, and stunning shots from the MoMA Design Store’s Instagram account. (Follow us at @MoMAstore!)
Join us on May 19 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. to celebrate this exciting launch at the MoMA Design Store, Soho! See these incredible products and many more in person and meet the designers who created them. Plus, enjoy innovative finger foods by Emilie Baltz, drinks by Finback Brewery and Brooklyn Oenology, music by DJ Jasmine Solano, and enter to win great prizes. Don’t forget to RSVP by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org!
There’s nothing in the world like a really fast car, and the MoMA design collection has one of the world’s fastest: the 1990 Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 High Performance Racing Car (641/2), by British auto designer John Barnard.
Though not a recent acquisition, I thought it fitting to feature the Ferrari now in honor of Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s first podium of the 2014 Formula 1 season at the recent Chinese Grand Prix.
As designer John Barnard explains in an audio guide segment from the 2002 exhibition AUTObodies: speed, sport, transport, the 641, or F1-90, as it’s become known, was built for speed. And it delivered. Plus it’s red. Fiery red. Ferrari red, in fact. Red means danger, look out, hot stuff coming through; it’s the color of anger, passion, and seduction, and as everyone knows, red cars go faster.
Scuderia Ferrari has been part of Formula 1 since the beginning, so it’s no wonder that the racing team holds so many F1 records, including the most constructor and driver championships and most overall wins. Each Formula 1 team races two cars; in 1990 two world championship drivers, Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell, drove the 641 for Ferrari, combining for three pole positions, five fastest laps, and six wins. As reigning champion, Prost’s was the number one car; and he came close to repeating—only to lose out to another world champion, his arch rival Aryton Senna.
The formula, or the overall guiding regulations of Formula 1, has changed over the years with countless modifications and improvements. And big changes came this year with the hybrid 1.6-litre V-6 turbo engine with ERS (Energy Recovery Systems), a major shift from the 2013 2.4-litre V-8. Overall design changes accompanied the new, greener 2014 engines, but likely the most notable and most talked about change is the new engine sound—or lack of it. Drivers have said they can hear the wind over the engine noise; used to be all you could hear was the engine.
The sound of the 1990 641 Ferrari 3.5-litre V-12 engine is familiar to race fans the world over. Like none other, it screams exhilaration, excitement, and pure power.
The world of Grand Prix motor racing is one of precision, with its rigorous formula, and exacting calculations; it’s a culture unto itself with a complicated set of rules and statistical systems of points and penalties spoken in a language of strange numbers and acronyms. But it’s the visceral experience of raw power, crazy kinetic energy, and speed of the cars that ignites our imagination—the remarkable talents and mad skills of drivers the draws us in.
“Tutti i Motori Ferrari,” a catalogue of Ferrari engines designed by the Dutch graphic artist Irma Boom is also in MoMA’s design collection. Its soft, outer cover displays the Ferrari prancing horse logo on a silver-colored background that looks to be made of a fluid version of same the aluminum alloy used for F1 engine blocks; the interior plates showcase the evolution of the engines throughout Ferrari’s history. (A flip through of the pages of “Tutti I Motori Ferrari” begins at the one minute mark in the video “20 books by Irma Boom.”)
Before AUTObodies MoMA’s Ferrari 641-2 was first on view in the 1993 exhibition Designed for Speed: Three Automobiles by Ferrari. It can presently be found hanging on the wall in MoMA’s Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building lobby, like a perfect portrait of a high-performance machine.
Right now the U.S. military is preparing to allow women to serve in combat roles for the first time, and pressure is growing from international precedent for the U.K. to follow suit. Yet there are still many who feel that the frontline is just not a place fit for a woman. Such a prospect was certainly out of the question a century ago during World War I. Read more
Since the early 1990s, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has used art to challenge how we experience and interact with the world. The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1′s 2008 exhibition Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson—the most comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s work to date—transformed MoMA’s galleries into hybrid spaces of nature and culture, prompting an intensive engagement with the world and offering a fresh consideration of everyday life.
Nature serves as a constant source of fascination for Eliasson, but light in particular is one of his favorite mediums and most effective tools. For the artist, light is not incidental: it is an instrument through which he communes with the public. For example, in Room for one color (1997), mono-frequency lights eliminate every wavelength except for yellow, and provoke an involuntary neurological response that intensifies the participants’ perception of detail and dimension. Conversely, 360° room for all colours (2002), utilizes a circular enclosure backlit by 750 lamps that change hue slowly, plunging the participant deep into the color spectrum, dissolving the line between reality and the imagination.
Light acts as muse once again in his most recent piece, Little Sun, but this time the artist’s ambition is not merely to use art to alter our perception of the environment; it is to use art to affect social change on a global level.
“I have an obsession with light,” says Eliasson. “How light forms a space. How a space forms light. As a child I grew up in Iceland where there is no sunlight in the winter. It simply stays dark all day. Light became [something that] pulled people together. Light became a way of connecting to other people. Light is social. Light is life.”
The brainchild of Eliasson and solar engineer Frederik Ottesen, Little Sun is a solar-powered LED light described by the artist as a “work of art that works in life.” Nearly one quarter of the world’s population does not have access to electricity. When the sun sets, entire communities grind to a halt. Poverty reduction strategies are difficult to implement, as working hours are limited to daytime, medical care is dangerous to provide, and education levels drop since children cannot study after sunset.
Kerosene lanterns are a common off-grid solution to these issues, yet an evening of breathing in a kerosene lamp’s toxic emissions is equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes. As they spend more hours in the home, women and children suffer disproportionately from breathing-related problems, burns, and fires caused by kerosene-powered lanterns and candles. And while polluting homes on a local level, kerosene also impacts the environment on a global scale, releasing 190 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere per year.
In addition to being healthier and more eco-friendly than kerosene, Little Sun is also more affordable. The cost of one Little Sun lamp (which lasts approximately three years) is equivalent to the cost of three to six months of kerosene-fueled light. The Little Sun may be small, but like its namesake, it is extremely powerful. A five-hour charge produces up to three hours of bright light, and up to 10 hours of lower light.
“It’s for cooking, eating, reading, learning, but it’s also for earning,” says Eliasson. “The distribution part of this project is also powerful. If [local merchants] make a few bucks selling it there’s something there that I consider a work of art as well. The microeconomic infrastructure that needs to take this to the end user is also part of the Little Sun vision.”
Since its 2012 launch at the Tate Modern, Little Sun has not only received official certification from Lighting Africa—a joint IFC and World Bank program—but, to date, 126,402 lamps have been distributed worldwide; one in three going to areas without electricity. The lamp currently has distribution in seven African countries, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, as well as in the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia, and Japan.
MoMA and the MoMA Design Store are proud to support this brilliant initiative, and through April our store windows will be dedicated to the Little Sun project, with the goal of bringing these pressing social issues to light and empowering the public through art and design. Every purchase makes it possible for the Little Sun to be sold in off-grid communities at locally affordable prices. To Eliasson, one part of the artwork is the lamp and the activities it enables. The other is the successful distribution of the Little Sun in off-grid communities, and its journey from production to usage.
“I need you to power this project” says Eliasson. “Holding power in your hands is very liberating. It makes you feel resourceful, connected—whether you’re a child or adult, on-grid or off-grid. This is something we all share. In everyday life, it is important that we critically engage in global initiatives and local contexts. Our actions have consequences for the world. Little Sun is a wedge that opens up the urgent discussion about bringing sustainable energy to all from the perspective of art.”
This season the MoMA Design Store is pleased to announce the launch of an exclusive new series of artist-produced wares. To celebrate these artistic collaborations we’re going share with Inside/Out readers a behind-the-scenes look at the process of designing these exciting products, and background about the artists involved. Read more
Five for Friday, written by a variety of MoMA staff members, is our attempt to spotlight some of the compelling, charming, and downright curious works in the Museum’s rich collection.
For most graphic designers, typography is one of the most important, challenging, and seductive parts of graphic design. So when Anne Umland, The Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Curator of Painting and Sculpture, and curatorial assistant Danielle Johnson, who organized the exhibition Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary,1926–1938, suggested incorporating Magritte’s beautiful lettering style—or a version inspired by it—for the title wall design, I was, of course, very excited. I began my work on the project by researching and gathering samples of where Magritte’s lettering appeared, such as in his paintings La Trahison des images (The Treachery of Images), L’Apparition (The Apparition), and Le Masque vide (The Empty Mask).
There were many variations from one artwork to another: some had greater contrast of thick and thin, others were more condensed, and there were perceptible shifts in stroke weight—largely due to the proportion of sizes between the brush and the letters he was drawing. Yet, it surprised me to see how incredibly consistent his letterforms were. The letter “p,” for example, the most notably unique character in his alphabet, always had an open counter, and looked like an “n” with a prolonged stem. The end of the letter “s” consistently looped inwards into a soft twirl that finished with a small, delicate node.
To say that my first attempts were not quite there is an understatement.
It took dozens of variations, testing, tweaks, and just plain old graphic designer obsession to get it to a point that felt right and captured the elegant, rhythmic, and gestural quality of Magritte’s original lettering. When I got stuck on how to resolve a particular transition between letters—for example, between the “B” and “r” in Brussels—I would go back to my research and sure enough, Magritte was there to give me a helping hand.
My finished lettering is used in five places throughout the exhibition. Taken out of it’s familiar context in Magritte’s paintings, it now functions as signage that both guides visitors through the galleries and draws them in.
One of the recent additions to MoMA’s design collection is the record jacket for the Rolling Stones album Let it Bleed, with cover art by Robert Brownjohn. Those of us of a certain age are likely to remember not only our first LP purchase Read more