Friday, August 22, 2014

eBay Eyes: Went Fishin'


I seem to have taken a bit of a hiatus from posting. But hey, isn’t that what summer is for?

These vintage reel boxes might trigger memories for some of you, but I’ve no salty sentimentality to offer. You see mine were not a seafaring people. Navy service during WWII cured my father of any further interest in maritime adventure. Ocean-passage to Ellis Island was quite enough for his father before that.

Fortunately, no nautical expertise is necessary to enjoy the period graphics on these old boxes.

What’s the opposite of “deep-sea” fishing? That’s me, age 3, with big bro.




























eBay Eyes is an occasional presentation of found visual treats from that ever-expanding, electronic mega-marketplace.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Squirting Grapefruits and Fingerprints: Deskey's Textiles

"Squirting Grapefruit"

Donald Deskey might be a name you are familiar with, but if you can’t quite place his work, just think Radio City Music Hall.

The interior that we now think of as the quintessential expression of Art Deco design, was actually slated to be yet another over-the-top “Rococo,” movie palace. That, of course, was before a certain designer entered the design competition with a completely different vision.

From the Radio City’s website:
Deskey invested $5,000 in a spectacular presentation of the new Art Deco style that utilized glass, aluminum, chrome and geometric ornamentation, promising a modern theatre, unlike any other in New York. Deskey won the competition and was awarded the mammoth project of designing every public area in the Music Hall, including thirty lobby areas, smoking rooms, retiring rooms, foyers and lounges ...  
Deskey himself designed furniture and carpets, and he coordinated the design of railings, balustrades, signage and decorative details to complement the theatre's interior spaces. He used a brilliant combination of precious materials (including marble and gold foil), and industrial materials (including Bakelite, permatex, aluminum and cork)
The archive of Deskey’s work at the Smithsonian contains iterations of Radio City’s instrument-themed carpet, along with many other Deco delights. These playful pastel-on-black 1930s textile designs definitely took me by surprise!

"W.P.A., or Spare Time"

"Fingerprints"

"Party Ashtray"


Then there was one more pastel on black, from 1961, and about as far from a textile design as you can get. It was the sketch for New York City’s familiar streetlight!



Sunday, July 13, 2014

The street art of Buenos Aires is as exuberant as it is plentiful. The painting of murals on outside walls throughout the city is not only accepted, but encouraged and celebrated.

I wandered by the above mural of Argentine deity, Diego Maradona, during my visit to BA in 2009. It’s way more lighthearted and cartoonish than more recent soccer murals, which tend toward the heroic and reverential. A big supporter of the local street art scene is Buenos Aires Street Art. They organize and document projects, offer regular street-art tours and even aerosol classes. You can see soccer related murals they’ve posted here and here.

As all will be watching Lionel Messi’s “date with history,” in the World Cup final of Argentina v. Germany, I thought I’d finally post Maradona and some of the other painted walls I saw in BA. While I can’t give equal time here to Germany’s wall art, I’ve slipped in a mural from a visit to Berlin. I think you’ll figure out which one it is. (Hint: don’t be fooled by the Volkswagen)

 Also check out the NY Times infographic on Messi vs. Maradona.


















Wednesday, July 9, 2014

In a Maine Frame of Mind

On a day like today when it's ninety degrees and the air is thick in NYC, my brain goes to Maine for a cooling mental respite. The sense-memory exercise, while refreshing, leaves me with an inevitable craving for lobster roll.

A roundup of assorted photos, oils and gouaches from Maine visits over the last few  years.














Sunday, July 6, 2014

More Fireworks!



C.T. Brock, Britain’s, oldest fireworks company was founded 1698. They were the sole pyrotechnists to the Crystal Palace and were known their free displays, or “Brock’s Benefits” starting in 1826.

The company changed hands a number of times toward the end of the last century and even landed under Chinese ownership. Brocks Fireworks Limited is now once again in the UK and aims " To produce high quality Pyrotechnics back in the United Kingdom and to protect the history of the British Firework Industry "

These gouache paintings by Phil George are from a group of 34, found in “C.T. Brock & Co.'s Crystal Palace Fireworks.” The book is at Brown University’s John Hay Library, in the Paul R. Dupee Collection on Fireworks.








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