How We Learned to Live with Zombies
Are the tasteful precincts of Design Observer, where most writers’ thoughts usually run to saving the planet, the place to admit to an interest in zombie films? Perhaps we can see these grotesque fantasies of a world on the brink of collapse as the dark, unmentionable flipside of the same philanthropic coin. Who could have predicted 20 years ago that The Walking Dead
, a TV series about survival after the zombie apocalypse, would become such a hit?
Saul Leiter and the Typographic Fragment
Saul Leiter’s early color photographs must surely rank as one of the great photographic rediscoveries of the last decade. These are pictures that have you instantly reaching for words like epiphanic, rhapsodic and elegiac to describe their poetic intimations and delicate painterly effects. What kind of preternaturally hyper-trained eye does it take to find and resolve in a picture, in an instant, compositions of such visual complexity and internal harmony?
Another Design Voice Falls Silent
I was planning to write a post responding to a special feature about design criticism published in Grafik
when the news broke that the magazine had abruptly ceased publishing — its second demise after closing in 2010 and then rising from the ashes in February this year. Nothing could highlight more glaringly the precarious position of design publishing and criticism today.
Man in a Bowler: Illustration after Magritte
It’s not that I dislike Magritte, though I much prefer his darker pictures and word paintings from the 1920s and 1930s to the summery palette of the later paintings for which he is perhaps better known. But the countless “witty” copies by later illustrators of his conceptual conundrums and deadpan style have always grated. By appropriating his subject matter and method, they ended up making a great artist look hackneyed.