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"


"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.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Pop Pyrotechnics

Many thanks to artist and designer April Rose for posting these explosive
Japanese treats!

Happy 4th!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Misc Files: See Spots

Walter Vogel photo of Pina Bausch, 1966

From time to time, I actually clear my computer desktop. Inevitably, I end up with loose images that I file in a folder labeled “Misc” Sometimes, when I go back into my "misc files," I find that affinities have formed.

Vintage Japanese stencil (eBay)

Bemelmans Bar mural detail
Photo by Kim Wood

Original gouache design for lace (eBay)

Servant bell board at Searles Castle, Great Barrington (L. Eckstein photo)

"Dot Fantasy" by Paul Rand

Design for Dutch archeology stamp by Walter J. Nikkels

Leather stamping tools (eBay)

A conservation analyst from the Israeli Antiquities department examines fragments of the 2000-year-old Dead Sea scrolls at a laboratory in Jerusalem. AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA.

Bela Csikos Sessia, Study for the Wake, 1896
 Modern GalleryZagreb (L. Eckstein photo)

This photo of MC Escher with his set of nested Platonic Solids shows up in many places, but no one has cited an original source (as in where the picture was originally printed, or who the photographer was, as opposed to which Flickr or Pinterest account it was grabbed from).
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