News

Land and Sea Overview

I just got my edition of Land and Sea’s 21st project, Overview: a box set that features 79 risograph prints by various artists. It was conceived, organized, and printed by artist Chris Duncan.

How neat to make cross-country connections: I picked up the box set from contributing artist Laura Splan, during an opening at Dose Project Space [great mission!] for Lauren Davies’ show. It was a great mishmash of connections spanning the Bay Area (Chris, Lauren, plus contributing peers like Sarah Hotchkiss, Genevieve Quick, Kelly Lynn Jones, Aaron Harbour, Val Imus, and many more).

Risograph prints have a beautiful tonal quality. Chris picked out a nice, toothy, heavyweight paper to print on. Each piece has heft to it, and could easily (literally) stand on its own on a tilted shelf. In other words, they feel like prints, not posters.

Many of the artists created abstractions in black ink, and others explored riso’s odd, saturated palette of Sunkist orange, cobalt, and vibrant green. A very light greenish parchment-grey is fascinating. The back of each print is flooded with a repeated text, adding a cohesive element.

I love how my piece came out:

Irrational Exuberance flags, two color risograph; mini flags to be cut out and displayed.

Irrational Exuberance flags, two color risograph.

These are designs based on the Irrational Exuberance Flags series, but miniaturized, so you can cut them out and make a set of mini flags of your own.

And here are a few of my favorites:

Luke Fischbeck, two color risograph print, various renderings of possibly happy/sad faces.

Luke Fischbeck, two color risograph print, various renderings of possibly happy/sad faces, made all the more fractured and interesting with slight offsetting.

Luke Fischbeck, two color risograph print, various renderings of possibly happy/sad faces.

Tucker Nichols’ pink and blue risograph print. I think it’s a trophy and some flowers. So exuberant! I love it.

Lee Hunter, one-color riso. We walk together.

Lee Hunter, one-color riso. I’ve been thinking a lot about collective action lately.

Michael Milano's operational two-color print, in which a single triangular design is rotated and overprinted.

Michael Milano’s operational two-color print, in which a single triangular design is rotated and overprinted. It’s an ingenius exploration of the medium.

Sarah Berkeley, great reminder, and already up in my studio. Turn your phone OFF. Data Blackout in progress.

Sarah Berkeley. Great reminder, and already up in my studio.

View the full portfolio, and support this independent, artist-run venture, here.

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Research

happiness is… research note #13

Two more thoughts about working with materials:

Sometimes they are dazzling and fun to look at, even in the early stages of production.

Parts of a flag-to-be; cut.

Parts of a flag-to-be; cut.

Parts of a flag-to-be; wrapped seams readied for pressing.

Parts of a flag-to-be; wrapped seams readied for pressing.

It gets better.

Sometimes the patterns remind you of artworks by friends, what begins as a material revelation becomes an opportunity for relatedness—connecting or re-connecting with like-minded others.

Detail, painting by Chris Duncan. Photo: Klea McKenna. // Source: InTheMake.com

Detail, painting by Chris Duncan // Source: InTheMake.com

Detail, paint stack by Leah Rosenberg. Photo: Klea McKenna. // Source: InTheMake.com.

Detail, paint stack by Leah Rosenberg. Photo: Klea McKenna. // Source: InTheMake.com.

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Art & Development

Points of Reference

Assorted sources of gratification, amusement, and inspiration.

Sol Lewitt at Dia:Beacon

Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #1085: Drawing Series-Composite, Part I-IV, #1-24, A+B, (detail), 1968/2003. Photo: Bill Jacobson.

Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #1085: Drawing Series-Composite, Part I-IV, #1-24, A+B, (detail), 1968/2003. Photo: Bill Jacobson. Image Sources: Dia:Beacon

Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #1085: Drawing Series-Composite, Part I-IV, #1-24, A+B, https://cwongyap.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php(detail), 1968/2003. Photo: Bill Jacobson.

Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #1085: Drawing Series-Composite, Part I-IV, #1-24, A+B, (detail), 1968/2003. Photo: Bill Jacobson. Image Source: Dia:Beacon

Learn why this combo rocked my world in the previous post, “Good New for Art Lovers.”

Designer and happiness evangelicist Stephen Sagmeister’s TED talk videos

Graphic designer Sagmeister wants to promote happiness. He’s compiled some advice on living in an exuberantly designed book called “Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far.” In his TED talks, he presents his ideas in a very elemental, approachable style. At the risk of making a huge generalization, I found his demeanor self-possessed in a European way—dry wit and nonchalance just short of indifference. (It makes American enthusiasm—wide eyes, big smiles—seem like ostentatious over-sharing.) Presenting simple, innocent gestures with such unconcerned confidence can sometimes come off with a whiff of entitlement, but for all his success—which is evidently abundant—he is modest and gracious, always using the pronoun “we” to share the authorship of his work (but never naming names).

Anytime designers can break free from the conventional corporate path is great; Sagmeister’s direction—happiness—is an interesting choice.

Some of Sagmeister’s projects look like art. He makes installations, photographs and other creative gestures, often on his sabbaticals. Some of the appropriations of contemporary art techniques seem a bit apparent. At one point during his slide show, I winced, because a text made of shadows so recalled the work of Fred Eerdeckens. I haven’t got a problem with designers, or other artists, trying creative approaches that have been done before. It’s just that designers’ images aren’t held to the same critical standards that the works of contemporary artists—the creative risks are not the same. With Sagmeister’s office located in Chelsea, it’s safe to assume that he sees lots of art; a nice gesture, if he does borrow from what he sees, would be to collect art, rewarding those whose inspiration has enhanced your life (if not also your firm’s bottom line).

[On a related note, M is currently studying design that moves beyond visual style. I’m eager to see what he discovers. As designers generate content, and become authors and researchers, with what criteria should their work be judged?]

Designer Ed Fella charms and confuses young ‘uns with talk of photostats and Letraset at the Walker

Ed Fella is an interesting counterpart to hip Sagmeister. Fella, known for his handmade design work and typographic doodles, has a cult-like following among art and design students. His work is delightfully old-school. He’s also completely transparent about his appropriation of styles, and of the insignificance of the content of his work beyond the design community.

In his lecture at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, he’s got a kindly conversational style, both grandfatherly and professorial. With his quirky hoarding of images of vernacular signage, his pursuit of offbeat methods, his unapologetic borrowing of historical styles, and his insistence on making room for young designers, Fella is generous and forthright.

[Can I just say how great it is to be able to access museum lectures online? It’s a proper extension of museum’s purposes.]

Chris Duncan
Eye Against I
Baer Ridgeway Exhibitions, San Francisco

Chris Duncan, Eye Against I, installation view

Chris Duncan, Eye Against I, installation view. Source: Baer Ridgeway Exhibitions, San Francisco, CA.

Chris Duncant, Obstructed Image 14, 2010  Found paper and tape  14 x 20 inches

Chris Duncan, Obstructed Image #14, 2010, Found paper and tape, 14 x 20 inches. Source: Baer Ridgeway Exhibitions, San Francisco, CA.

This show manages to be sparse but massive. In encompassing and altering the gallery’s architecture, it brims with Duncan’s ambition. It places the viewer literally within his vision. The smaller works look brilliantly simple and expertly executed. I think the tape-out pieces are sublime.

Wish I could be in San Francisco to experience it firsthand.

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