Minggu, 19 September 2010

Milton Glaser

About a hundred years ago, the first time I went to New York, I was invited along to Push Pin Studios by the English illustrator Barry Zaid who had recently been recruited. I was lucky enough to meet co-founder Seymour Chwaste while I was there but disappointingly, Milton Glaser the other founder, incredibly talented designer, illustrator and typographer - and now very famous for creating the I [heart] NY logo, was away at the time, though I did get to have a drink with him in London in the 70’s when he interviewed Pauline (her indoors) about a work project.

In 1954 Glaser was a founder, and president, of Push Pin Studios formed with several of his Cooper Union classmates. Glaser's work is characterized by directness, simplicity and originality. He uses any medium or style to solve the problem at hand. His style ranges wildly from primitive to avante garde in his countless book jackets, album covers, advertisements and direct mail pieces and magazine illustrations. He started his own studio, Milton Glaser, Inc, in 1974. This led to his involvement with an increasingly wide diversity of projects, ranging from the design of New York Magazine, of which he was a co-founder, to a 600 foot mural for the Federal Office Building in Indianapolis.

Throughout his career he has had a major impact on contemporary illustration and design. His work has won numerous awards from Art Directors Clubs, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Society of Illustrators and the Type Directors Club. In 1979 he was made Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and his work is included in the Museum of Modern Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Israel Museum and the Musee de L'affiche in Paris. Glaser has taught at both the School of Visual Arts and at Cooper Union in New York City. He is a member of Alliance Graphique International (AGI).
In 2009, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

I'm off to Italy tomorrow, and not taking the computer, so this is the last post for a week or so...

Jumat, 17 September 2010

Howard Hodgkin

Howard Hodgkin (born 6 August 1932), another painter who I would classify as a colourist produces lively abstracts. He has been called Howard Splodgkin, but come to think of it that may have been by me. Hodgkin is a cousin of the English still life painter Eliot Hodgkin (1905-87), and was educated at Bryanston School in Dorset. He then studied at the Camberwell Art School and later at the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham, where Edward Piper studied drawing under him.

Hodgkin's first solo show was in London in 1962. His early paintings tend to be made up of hard-edged curved forms in a limited number of colours.
Around the beginning of the 1970s, his style became more spontaneous, with vaguely recognisable shapes presented in bright colours and bold forms. His works may then be called "semi-abstract", and are often compared to the paintings of Henri Matisse.

In 1984, Hodgkin represented Britain at the Venice Biennale, in 1985 he won the Turner Prize, and in 1992 he was knighted. In 1995, Hodgkin printed the Venetian Views series, which depict the same view of Venice at four different times of day. Venice, Afternoon - one of the four prints - uses sixteen sheets, or fragments, in a hugely complex printing process which creates a colourful, painterly effect. This piece was given to the Yale Centre of British Art in June 2006 by the Israel family to complement their already-impressive collection of Hodgkins.

In 2003 he was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II as a Companion of Honour. A major exhibition of his work was mounted at Tate Britain, London, in 2006. Also in 2006, The Independent declared him one of the 100 most influential gay people in Britain, as his work helps many people express their emotions to others.

Selasa, 14 September 2010

Chrysler Building

My last blog had a tribute to New York's twin towers of The World Trade Centre. The first time I went to New York they were building the towers; the last time I went they had gone. When one thinks of New York, or more specifically Manhatten, one thinks of skyscrapers, a city of skyscrapers. My favourite one has to be the Chrysler Building, and art deco monument, best seen I think, at night, from the top of the other great icon, the Empire State Building.

The Chrysler Building at 405 Lexington Avenue at 42nd Street, was built in 1928-1930 by Walter P. Chrysler. Its design was a 77-story tall triumph of Art Deco, and it was one of the first skyscrapers to make a major use of metal in its construction and adornment. Many consider it the most important Art Deco building in the world.

Until his departure in 1920, Walter P. Chrysler had been vice-president of General Motors in charge of operations and president of their Buick division. Five years later he had bought out the Maxwell Automobile Corporation and reorganized it into the Chrysler Corporation. In 1927 he bought the much larger rival Dodge Brothers Company and renamed it the Dodge Division of Chrysler.
Heady from that success, Walter P.Chrysler teamed up with architect William Van Alen for the design and construction of an office skyscraper. Van Alen was essentially given a blank check to come up with a design to fit the car magnate's ambition.

Architects Van Alen and H. Craig Severance, the architect of the Bank of Manhattan's building at 40 Wall Street, had been former partners but were now ardent rivals – both wanted to build the tallest building in the world. Severance had just finished the structural work on his Bank of Manhattan building by a winning margin of less than one metre, so Van Alen revealed his trump card on October 23,1929, just one day before the stock market made its first plunge. To hide the last design revision to incorporate a needle-like top, the pieces for the 27-ton vertex were hoisted to the 65th floor, assembled inside the spire and, with the help of a derrick, raised that day in just one and a half hours to add another 37.5 metres to the building's height – a total of 1048 feet – exceeding the Eiffel Tower (then the tallest structure in the world). It was the first building ever to exceed 1000 feet in height. However, four months later the rapidly ascending Empire State Building caught up and overtook the Chrysler Building’s height. Nevertheless it remains the world’s tallest brick building.

Completed at a cost of $20 million, the Chrysler Building was officially opened on May 27, 1930, and Van Alen was already in trouble. He was accused of taking bribes from contractors and Chrysler refused to pay his full percentage-based fee. Van Alen hadn't made it any easier for himself by not making a written contract with Chrysler for the design commission. Although Van Alen would later reach immortality with this building, he had lost his good reputation as an architect and never worked on a notable commission again. Moreover, the building was scorned by critics, who saw it merely as an oversized advertisement for Chrysler with little architectural merit.

The building is clad in white brick and dark gray brickwork is used as horizontal decoration to enhance the window rows. The eccentric crescent-shaped steps of the spire are made of chrome-nickel steel as a stylized sunburst motif, and underneath it immense steel chimeras depicting American eagles, which stare over the city. The building has a lot of ornamentation that is based on features that were being used on Chrysler cars of the day. The corners of the sixty first floor are graced with eagles, replicas of the 1929 Chrysler hood ornaments. At the thirty first story, the corner ornamentations are replicas of 1929 Chrysler radiator caps.

Although Walter Chrysler had his personal office here for a number of years, contrary to popular belief, this building was not built or financed by the Chrysler Corporation. Instead, it was a personal project of Walter Chrysler to be given as a business venture for his sons, Walter Jr. and Jack, who were not interested in the automobile business.

Unsurprisingly, a street level showroom for the Chrysler line of automobiles was incorporated in 1936 by Reinhard & Hofmeister. All of the building's 32 elevators are lined in a different pattern of wooden paneling; eight varieties of wood from all over the world were used in the elevator decor. The doors are of a fantastic design that perhaps better than anything indicates the great influence of ancient Egyptian designs on the birth of Art Deco – the burst of Deco's themes and the uncovering of the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922 being a good coincidence.

Minggu, 12 September 2010

9/11 tribute in light

In memory of the people who lost their lives in the World Trade Centre attacks on 9/11, a six-month anniversary was held with a "Tribute in Light" memorial from March 11th to April 13th 2002. From dusk until 11 p.m. each night two beams of light rose into the sky from a site near Ground Zero.

Kamis, 09 September 2010

Jamie Wyeth

In the last of three posts on the American family of painters, the Wyeths, I am featuring the work of Andrew Wyeth, son of the more famous Andrew Wyeth and grandson of the famous illustrator & artist N. C. Wyeth. His work is very much in the same tradition and palette as that of his father.
James Browning Wyeth (born July 6, 1946) is a contemporary American realist painter. He was born in Chadds Ford Township, Pennsylvania, He is artistic heir to the Brandywine School Tradition, painters who worked in the rural Brandywine River area of Delaware and Pennsylvania, portraying its people, animals, and landscape.