How does the FBI Art Crime team operate? – Hyperallergic Though high-profile art thefts certainly still happen — in March 2020, for example, a masterpiece by Vincent van Gogh was stolen from a Dutch museum that was temporarily closed under pandemic lockdown — the publicity generated around the theft of important works hinders their resale. The FBI Art Crime Team maintains a public “Top 10 Art Crimes” list inspired by the FBI’s “10 Most Wanted Fugitives” list, which has been around since 1950. Topping the list are artifacts looted from Iraq in 2003 — many of which have been recovered and repatriated, though thousands of returns remain outstanding — and the infamous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist, which involved the theft of an estimated $500 million of paintings in a single night in 1990; despite the museum’s offer of a $10 million reward, the crime remains unsolved more than three decades later.
You can now report stolen art using Interpol’s new app – Hyperallergic A new mobile app launched by Interpol, the global criminal police organization, aims to help identify and track stolen art and cultural property. The ID-Art app provides real-time access to the agency’s Stolen Works of Art database, an international archive of more than 52,000 objects verified to be missing along with images, descriptions, and certified police reports.
I was wondering if they got anywhere with that stolen Van Gogh from March 2020. It turns out they did.
Man sentenced to eight years in prison for theft of van Gogh and Hals paintings – ARTnews.com A Dutch man was sentenced to eight years in prison for stealing paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Frans Hals in 2020. In its ruling on Friday, the Central Netherlands Court also said the that the man, who was not identified in the sentencing, must pay €8.73 million ($10.2 million) to the owner of the Hals painting. Both the Hals and the van Gogh paintings remain missing.
Children’s drawings have a wonderful inventiveness, energy, and variety. We focus on the consequence of all that variety in their drawings of human figures as we develop an algorithm to bring them to life through automatic animation.
It doesn’t always work, though. Take this exhibition of the works of Marisol Escobar and Andy Warhol, for instance, “the queen and king of Pop“.
Does a pairing with Warhol do Marisol any favors? – Hyperallergic The basic plan of this show reveals an unfortunate curatorial lapse. To put Warhol’s famous works alongside Marisol’s now relatively unknown art does no favors for her. Rather than lift up her art, this strategy makes it look marginal and obscure, a minor version of what he did with such success. Jeffrey Deitch, whose judgments I take seriously, says in the catalogue, “Marisol, for me, was one of the geniuses who defined contemporary art. . . .” I would love to see a full Marisol show, so as to come to grips with her work on its own terms. These present comparisons don’t do that.
So Pantone have announced their Colour of the Year for 2022.
Pantone Color of the Year 2022 – Pantone With trends in gaming, the expanding popularity of the metaverse and rising artistic community in the digital space PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri illustrates the fusion of modern life and how colour trends in the digital world are being manifested in the physical world and vice versa.
Pantone Colour of the Year 2022 is a brand new colour, to reflect our “transformative times”– It’s Nice That It’s the most colourful time of the year for Pantone, as the company makes inevitable global headlines announcing its Colour of the Year: a tone it believes will define the following year’s visual landscape. For 2022 it’s Very Peri – no, not a saucy orange, all you cheeky Nando’s lovers out there – but a periwinkle blue with violet-red undertones which apparently holds “courageous presence” that “encourages personal inventiveness and creativity,” Pantone says. Not content with any of its thousands of existing hues, Pantone has created this new colour specially for the occasion, symbolic of the societal “transition we are going through”.
Perhaps not as calming as in previous years. And not that far off 2018’s. But at least it’s not this horrid colour.
It’s such a strange concept, this Colour of the Year. Is it supposed to be an award or something? Is this colour cheaper to buy this year? We’ll probably never see this colour again, after this.
At least it’s just the one colour this time, not like last year.
Pantone picks two colors of the year, and they’re complete opposites – Fast Company Alone, a gray would be stagnant and depressing, while a yellow would be overly ebullient. Together, Pantone argues, the pair is meant to be both optimistic and thoughtful. “[Illuminating] is definitely an aspirational color, no question,” says Eiseman. “But I think with the solidity of the gray . . . when you juxtapose those colors against each other, the concept is clear, ‘Here’s what we’re hoping for. And this is the solid grounding to get us there.’”
Remember Aaron Thompson, the Carry a Bag Man? Here’s another high street historian.
A celebration of the humble paper bag – The Guardian Graphic designer Tim Sumner was introduced to the idea of paper bags as a cultural artefact a decade ago by his tutor at the University of Central Lancashire. “I’ve since amassed over 1,000 bags of my own from around the world.” Now he plans to showcase his collection – the largest in the world, he thinks – in a book, To Have and to Hold, which he’s funding on Kickstarter. “The bag designs document not just social history, but the rise and fall of our high street and changes in culture and fashion.”
If you think paper bags are mundane, Tim Sumner asks you to think again – It’s Nice That It’s not news that we’ve all become rather consumption-obsessed these days; we must buy the latest and greatest of everything. Tim wants to reflect on our “relatively recent consumer past, social history and the changes in our visual culture”. As a designer, he says that he can’t help but enjoy looking through the archive: “The bags are very nostalgic to everyone, not just designers. They are a smorgasbord of typography, colour, patterns, and illustration spanning over 100 years.” The archive includes recognisable identities from places including Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, The British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, as well as lesser-known and perhaps even more rich designs like “a hand-crafted design that has been created by the local green-grocer”.
Another melancholic series of photographs documenting our changing environment, this time of the United Arab Emirates.
Depicted through poignant landscapes, the grim reality of consumption by Richard Allenby-Pratt – IGNANT The UAE is less than half a century old; before the formation of its federation, the region had only really changed on a geological timescale—“a timescale so vast that the human mind cannot even begin to perceive it,” he explains, “and yet, in one human generation, we have altered or in some way touched, almost every square kilometer.” In the series, Allenby-Pratt depicts exactly this disruption, with otherworldly scenes that seem both futuristic and as if time was standing still. He portrays structures that should appear totally out of context, if not for human intervention: endless fields of solar panels and carparks, nuclear facilities under construction, and power lines far out into the ocean, are just some of the creations humankind applauds as progress, while ignoring the more vitally important creations of nature.
Clive Thompson had a very specific way of doodling when he was a kid, quite etch-a-sketchy. It reminded me of the patterns I found myself making at school when I should have been doing something more productive. He’s turned his into a web app, so we can all take our lines for a meander round the screen.
Are all these articles I’m sharing about covers of books, rather than the books themselves, making me look a little shallow? So it goes.
How Penguin’s Modern Classics dared us to judge a book by its cover – The Guardian “From the beginning, built into the DNA of Penguin, has been this idea that the books need to be beautifully designed,” [says Henry Eliot, author of The Penguin Modern Classics Book]. “If anything has characterised the Penguin design ethos, it’s a kind of elegant simplicity – there’s something deceptively simple about a Penguin cover. It takes a huge amount of work to put them together.” […]
More unsettling is the work of Hungarian-born French cartoonist André Francois. Eliot singles out his cover of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, “where each eye of the face is made up of a mouth with another set of eyes. It’s just such a scary, striking image. It reminds me of Escher or one of Borges’s short stories – there’s something queasy and vertiginous about it.”
Handwriting can be bold and mad, or beautifully meaningless, but always personal and genuine, right? Designer Jon Hicks wanted to convert his dad’s “distinctive architect’s handwriting” into its own typeface.
Bryan Font – Hicks There were several stylistic choices my dad made in his handwriting that were vital to reproduce in the font. For example, the shape of the lowercase T altered depending on whether it was written cursively or on its own.
It’s very cool, though the motivation behind it could be seen as a little … morbid?
I’ve had a focus for getting this font ready, as I wanted to use it on the Order of Service for his funeral.
That reminded me a little of Bobby McIlvaine’s diary and the desire to hold on to something handwritten by a lost loved one. Except that this Order of Service has been kind of faked — you don’t write your own, surely?
Anyway, here’s another.
Creating a handwritten font for Culture Amp – UX Collective If you think about your own handwriting, there are always letters that you customise and (whether consciously or subconsciously) have become distinctly yours. I remember that era in school where many of my friends customised their handwriting with little love heart or open circle dots on their i’s ….ah simpler times. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about little quirks that come from the way you hold your pen badly (as I am notorious for) or because you the way you learnt to construct a letter was backwards. Those are what moves handwriting from feeling like anybody’s to yours. That’s what this typeface needed.
Behold, the book blob – PRINT Magazine This design trend, well into its third or fourth year in the major publishing houses, has attracted plenty of nicknames and attendant discourse online—culture critic Jeva Lange calls it “blobs of suggestive colors,” while writer Alana Pockros calls it the “unicorn frappuccino cover,” and New Yorker writer Kyle Chayka once referred to it on Twitter as “the Zombie Formalism of book covers.”
As the article goes on to say, spotting such trends in book cover design is far from breaking news.
That was from 2019, this next article is from 2015.
Why do so many of this year’s book covers have the same design style? – Slate But lately, another cover design trend has been popping up on this summer’s crop of beach reads: the flat woman. Inspired by the “flat design” that’s become standard on the Web, these covers take on a minimalist style characterized by bright colors, simple layouts, and lots of white space. Several different designers and publishers have used this approach on hardcovers and paperbacks alike, especially those aiming for the upmarket-but-still-commercial-fiction-for-ladies sweet spot.
And this one’s from 2008.
Chick lit cover girls, without heads – Gawker On one hand, we can understand obscuring the faces—it’s less specific and makes the female protagonist easier to project oneself onto. (It’s probably been focus-grouped to death.) On the other hand—they look weird when put all together in a gallery, don’t they?
News of a fascinating exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The New Woman Behind the Camera – The Metropolitan Museum of Art Featuring more than 120 photographers from over 20 countries, this groundbreaking exhibition explores the work of the diverse “new” women who embraced photography as a mode of professional and artistic expression from the 1920s through the 1950s. During this tumultuous period shaped by two world wars, women stood at the forefront of experimentation with the camera and produced invaluable visual testimony that reflects both their personal experiences and the extraordinary social and political transformations of the era.
Neglected 20th-century women photographers begin to get their due – Hyperallergic It is a breath of fresh air to see some of the show’s more familiar names — Ilse Bing, Germaine Krull, Margaret Bourke-White — finally get their due, as they are too often relegated to the corners of exhibitions to say, in effect, “Oh, and there were women too!” Bing, in particular, is a star of the show, as her “Self-Portrait with Leica” (1931) asserts an unwavering female gaze. Like Annemarie Heinrich and Florence Henri, whose work also features in the exhibition, Bing uses mirrors to toy with photography’s flattening of three-dimensional space, obscuring the distinction between reality and reflection, subject and object. When we view beautiful women in pictures, they do not typically look back at us, judging our gazes; Bing’s camera thus becomes a sort of weapon, a radical self-defense.
Let’s stay in France with these articles about Wes Anderson’s new film, The French Dispatch, based loosely on The New Yorker’s writers and editors. Whilst it’s fascinating to read about the real life editors and reporters that inspired the film, I’m more interested in its aesthetics.
The New Yorker writers and editors who inspired “The French Dispatch” – The New Yorker According to David Brendel, who worked closely with Anderson on “An Editor’s Burial,” an anthology of New Yorker articles and other writing that inspired the film, the filmmaker discussed the significance of the movie’s vibrant visual language during post-production. “This is a world where all of the eccentricities are preserved, and it’s as if the magazine’s offices and culture back then were as colorful as its covers,” Brendel said.
When Wes Anderson comes to town, buildings get symmetrical – The New York Times The top floors of the building, which include a sign so wordy (The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun) that it continues across the upper-floor windows, were actually designed as a miniature. That miniature was digitally merged with the real building to give the top of it a more stylized look. The townscape of buildings in the background to the left is also a digitally added miniature. But on the ground level, the fronts were constructed for the film.
I noticed that this photo of the original building is credited to Accidentally Wes Anderson, the website that highlights similarly interesting and idiosyncratic places from across the globe. It was nice to see some local architecture featured there, amongst all the others.
But back to the movie, or rather the music video of the movie (with Jarvis Cocker!).
Watch Wes Anderson’s animated music video for The French Dispatch’s ‘Aline’ – Dazed Wes Anderson has directed a new, animated music video for Jarvis Cocker’s rendition of the 1965 Christophe track “Aline”, performed as the fictional pop star Tip Top. The song is one of several French pop covers to feature on Cocker’s musical counterpart to Anderson’s The French Dispatch. Titled Chansons d’Ennui, the record will also include versions of tracks by Serge Gainsbourg, Brigitte Bardot, Marie LaFôret, Jacques Dutronc, and more.
I note its style is very similar to the design of the initial movie poster, though they seem to have gone in a very different direction for this new set of posters.
Looks like we’re heading off to Spain for the next one.
Wes Anderson is shooting a new film in Spain this summer – Dazed Sets for Anderson’s as-yet-untitled project can be seen on the outskirts of the town in south east Madrid, says the Spanish newspaper, ready for shooting in July, August, and September. These sets reportedly include a mock train station and landscapes typical of a classic Western (though the film isn’t said to be of that genre).
Live stream & timeline – Christo and Jeanne-Claude “It will be like a living object that will move in the wind and reflect the light. With its moving folds, the monument’s surface will become sensual. People will want to touch the Arc de Triomphe.” (Christo)
You can see it for yourself, for a while at least.
During the presentation, Sotheby’s Paris will show ‘the final Christo’, an exhibition of 25 original works, including imagery, juxtaposing maps, architectural plans, photographs and engineering drawings in pastel and paint, drawn in preparation for the wrapping. Each work will be available for private sale, with proceeds to benefit both the upcoming project, and the Christo & Jeanne-Claude Foundation, established to safeguard the artists’ legacy for future generations.
A giant violin floats down Venice’s Grand Canal – The New York Times The craft, called “Noah’s Violin,” set sail accompanied by an escort of gondolas, and in no time a small flotilla of motorboats, water taxis and traditional flat-bottomed Venetian sandoli joined the violin as it glided from city hall, near the Rialto Bridge, to the ancient Customs House across from Piazza San Marco, about an hour’s ride. […]
It was mostly smooth sailing, though De Marchi mumbled anxiously whenever the prow (the neck of the violin) veered too sharply to one side or other. But even though the musicians played standing up (barefoot for a better grip), they scarcely missed a note. At one point the score for the viola flew off the music stand and into the water, but it was quickly recovered.
As is often the case in Italy, the real hitches along with way were bureaucratic. “We were told we needed a vehicle registration plate, but officials didn’t know how to classify it,” said Mario Bullo, a carpenter in the consortium. At first, they were issued the same plates given to rafts. “But the traffic police objected, saying that’s not a raft, it’s a violin,” he said with a shrug.
Do you ever get stuck with your blog? I certainly do, as these gaps between posts can testify. Here, Tim Davies shares his obstacles and succinctly reminds us why he — and many of the rest of us — sticks with it.
Overcoming posting-paralysis? – Tim’s Blog The caption of David Eaves’ blog comes to mind: “if writing is a muscle, this is my gym”. And linked: writing is a tool of thought. So, if I want to think properly about the things I’m reading and engaging with, I need to be writing about them. And writing a blog post, or constructing a tweet thread, can be a very effective way to push that writing (and thinking) beyond rough bullet points, to more complete thoughts.
And for inspiration, check out these visualisations of creative processes.
Process – Melike Turgut No matter how much we all try to ground our ideas in simplicity, the process of solving a creative problem is often chaotic. With this project, I try to make sense of the chaos by trying to pin-point the stages of my creative process. I use time as my constant [represented as a straight red line] and map my process around it.