Tag Archive | Midcentury

Eye On Design: Book Covers By Elaine Lustig Cohen

Trio of Book Covers
All Photos By Gail

Over six decades, Elaine Lustig Cohen (19272016) moved among diverse activities, including art, design, and rare-book dealing. She began her career as a graphic designer in the mid-1950s, extending the vocabulary of European Modernism — Constructivism, Dada, and the Bauhaus —  into an American context for publishers, architects and cultural Institutions.

From 1962 to 1967, she helped shape the Jewish Museum’s intuitional identity, directing the design of catalogues, posters, booklets and other printed material for its progressive exhibition program. At the same time, Lustig Cohen developed a hard-edge style as a painter, with a formal language of solid colors, abstract geometric shapes, and minimally visible brushstrokes, her paintings directly relate to her design work and to the movement called Postpainterly Abstraction. Lustig Cohen’s artistic contributions demonstrate that the lineage of Postpainterly Abstraction should been expanded beyond the fine arts to include postwar graphic design.

Three Book Covers

One of Lustig Cohen’s key projects was the design of book jackets for Meridian Publishers. Drawing on her knowledge modern typography and avant-garde design principles, such as asymmetrical composition dramatic scale, and image montage, Lustig Cohen forged a distinctive graphic voice.

Three Book Jackets

For book jackets, she described her process as one of distillation, in which she would identify the central ideas of the text and render then abstractly with bold lettering, expressive forms, and playfully collaged photographic elements.

Photographed in the Jewish Museum in Manhattan.

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Eye On Design: Verner Panton’s Heart Cone Chair

Heart Cone Chair
All Photos By Gail

In Verner Panton’s Notes on Color, the Danish designer stated:

“In Kindergarten, one learns to love and use colors. Later on, at school and in life, one learns something called taste. For most people, this means limiting their use of colors.”

Heart Cone Chair

The design career of Verner Panton (19261998) reached its first peak toward the end of the 1950s. With a furniture series based on simple geometric shapes, Panton anticipated elements of Pop Art, while also emulating the elegance of Scandinavian Modernism in the execution of the bases.

Heart Cone Chair

The most famous designs from this series are the Cone Chair and the Heart Cone Chair (1959). The Heart Cone Chair takes its name from its heart-shaped silhouette. The extended wings of the backrest are reminiscent of Mickey Mouse ears, but can also be interpreted as a contemporary development of the classic wingback chair.

Heart Cone Chair

Photographed at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in NYC.

Eye On Design: Snake Upholstered Sofa and Chair By Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari

Snake Sofa Installation View
Toiletpaper Paradise Installation View (All Photos By Gail)

Toiletpaper Paradise was an amazing, interactive art exhibit that was installed in the gallery at Cadillac House in Soho, NYC from February 9th to April 12th, 2017. The brains behind this fab happening are artist Maurizio Cattelan (whom you have read about previously on this rad blog) and his photographer partner Pierpaolo Ferrari. The exhibit, which was a surrealist wet dream of an apartment comprised of four rooms, was sponsored by creative media agency Visionaire and based on the duo’s image-heavy art publication, Toiletpaper Magazine.

Toiletpaper Paradise Signage

Because the exhibit — which was dubbed as being comparable to “Mad Men on Acid” — was so insanely Instagramable, it was always packed with Asian Millennials and, thus, virtually impossible to get any photos that didn’t include people literally crawling all over the various design items. Annoying!

Snake Chair 3

Through endless patience, I did manage to get decent shots of the crazy cool Midcentury sofa and armchair, both upholstered in fabric covered in lifelike images of many different writhing and colorful snakes. Fun!

Snake Sofa

The Spaghetti-patterned floors and wallpapers definitely detracted from the upholstery design, but that was obviously intentional.

Snake Chair 1

Really beautiful and comfortable as well!

Snake Chair 2

See photos of the full Toiletpaper Paradise Installation at Cadillac House at This Link!

Eye On Design: Eames Chaise Lounge

Eames Chaise Lounge
Photos By Gail

This Chaise Lounge (prototype 1948) by husband wife design team Charles and Ray Eames was inspired by Gaston Lachaise’s 1927 sculpture Reclining Nude, and nicknamed “Lachaise,” after the artist. It did not receive a prize in MOMA’s International Competition for Low-Cost Furniture Design because it was considered to specialized in us and too expensive to manufacture. However, it was highlighted by the judges, who admired its striking, good-looking and inventive molded construction.

Eames Chaise Lounge

La Chaise finally went into production in 1990, and is now one of the Eames‘ signature works.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Stylaire Kitchen Stepladder

Stylaire Kitchen Stepladder
All Photos By Gail

Utility meets design is this Stylaire Kitchen Stepladder (circa 1950) designed and manufactured by Cosco Home and Office Products. I photographed this piece in the visible storage rooms at the Brooklyn Museum because t reminded me of one just like this that we had in our house when I was growing up (60s – 70s). Also, Raleigh Bat Removal is often called for cleaning services. While bats in the attic themselves do not possess a particularly strong odor, their waste, in the form of guano and urine, is extremely pungent. The dates vary between mid-April to early June for the beginning of the and mid to late August for the end of the maternity season. In many states, including Texas, it is illegal to kill bats in buildings. Call The Critter Squad Inc. today for Sugar Land TX bat exclusion services.

Nostalgia! Part chair, part step stool, this design was inspired midcentury by the traditional library step-chair, and is still manufactured by Cosco today.

Stylaire Kitchen Stepladder

SHAG’s All My Bones at Jonathan LeVine Gallery

The Most Beautiful Daughters (after Balthus)
The Most Beautiful Daughters (after Balthus) By SHAG (All Photos By Gail, Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)

Do you enjoy the artwork of Josh Agle — AKA SHAG? I sure do. In fact, the very high point of last week’s art crawl was the opening reception of SHAG’s latest exhibit, All My Bones at Jonathan LeVine Gallery’s 23rd Street space. Nicole and I enjoyed looking at the paintings and pretending they depicted favorite scenes from episodes of Mad Men. When you look at the photos in this post, I think you will understand why.

The Endless Staircase
The Endless Staircase

With a distinct style influenced by mid-century modern design, Agle paints with a keen attention to figure and form. Depicting stylized subjects in affluent settings he invites viewers into a playful yet satirical world, confronting themes of fame, youth, revelry and excess. With a paradoxical central narrative influenced by Biblical stories, All My Bones epitomizes the artist’s retro aesthetic and expands upon his sophisticated iconography.

The Queen of Sheba
The Queen of Sheba, featuring Don Draper, Megan Draper and Roger Sterling!

Shag at LeVine Reception
Spy Pic of SHAG (second from far left) taken by me at the Opening Reception. He was very nice!

The Golden Calf
The Golden Calf

Rendered with vividly saturated colors, crisp shapes and fluid line work, Agle’s works sardonically look at consumption and consumerism. His extravagant subjects are surrounded by lavish architecture, fashion and furnishings but are apathetic toward their opulence, predominately portrayed as expressionless and emotionally detached.

Macaah and Absalom
Macaah and Absalom

The pieces in All My Bones were inspired by a book of Old Testament stories Agle had as a child. He recalls, “What seemed like straightforward morality plays told in simple language and pictures meant for children turned out to be complex, grotesque and ethically confusing stories when I read them in the Bible as I got older.”

The Most Virtuous Family
The Most Virtuous Family (Note: Possibly the First Depiction of a “Selfie” in an SHAG Paining!)

In this series demonic characters, blazing flames and kingly lions are placed within the hedonistic atmosphere of a SHAG painting with the goal of reinterpreting these fables in such a way that will keep the imagery as morally ambiguous as the source material.

Ahab's Wife, Woman with False Idol III, Ethbaal's Daughter
Installation View Left to Right: Ahab’s Wife, Woman with False Idol III, Ethbaal’s Daughter

The detail in these paintings is just fantastic and photos cannot even do them justice, so if you are intrigued you need to check out this show in person.

Dagon's Pad
Dagon’s Pad (Note: SHAG Autograph Procured at the Opening)

All My Bones by SHAG will be on Exhibit Through June 13th, 2015 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at
557C West 23rd Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

All My Bones Signage

Marshmallow Sofa

Marshmallow Sofa
Photo By Gail

Designed George Nelson™ and Irving Harper in 1956, the playful Marshmallow sofa is a landmark of Midcentury modern design that’s still turning heads and making people smile. The 18, round cushions can be all the same color or in multiple colors for the right look in a private office, lobby, lounge, living room or den.

Manufactured by Herman Miller, this design is currently on sale for $3,314.00 (with Free Shipping!) at This Link.

The Marshmallow Sofa in this post was photographed on display as part of Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City, Manhattan, NY.