Design Observer

About
Books
Job Board
Newsletters
Archive
Contact



Observatory

About
Resources
Submissions
Contact


Featured Writers

Michael Bierut
William Drenttel
John Foster
Jessica Helfand
Alexandra Lange
Mark Lamster
Paul Polak
Rick Poynor
John Thackara
Rob Walker


Departments

Advertisement
Audio
Books
Collections
Dear Bonnie
Dialogues
Essays
Events
Foster Column
From Our Archive
Gallery
Interviews
Miscellaneous
Opinions
Partner News
Photos
Poetry
Primary Sources
Projects
Report
Reviews
Slideshows
The Academy
Today Column
Unusual Suspects
Video


Topics

Advertising
Architecture
Art
Books
Branding
Business
Cities / Places
Community
Craft
Culture
Design History
Design Practice
Development
Disaster Relief
Ecology
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Fashion
Film / Video
Food/Agriculture
Geography
Global / Local
Graphic Design
Health / Safety
History
Housing
Ideas
Illustration
India
Industry
Info Design
Infrastructure
Interaction Design
Internet / Blogs
Journalism
Landscape
Literature
Magazines
Media
Museums
Music
Nature
Obituary
Other
Peace
Philanthropy
Photography
Planning
Poetry
Politics / Policy
Popular Culture
Poverty
Preservation
Product Design
Public / Private
Public Art
Religion
Reputations
Science
Shelter
Social Enterprise
Sports
Sustainability
Technology
Theory/Criticism
Transportation
TV / Radio
Typography
Urbanism
Water


Museums


02.11.14: Alexandra Lange

Premature Demolition
The Folk Art Museum, David Adjaye's market hall, and the first addition to the Morgan Library. If three makes a trend, then premature demolition qualifies.
READ MORE

02.04.14: Rick Poynor

Why Tatlin Can Never Go Home Again
Raoul Hausmann’s photomontage Tatlin at Home is much pinned on Pinterest, but what has become of the original?
READ MORE

02.01.14: Alexandra Lange

Criticism = Love
Why you have to love design to be a critic.
READ MORE

11.18.13: Alexandra Lange

Art On Campus
A review of the renovated Blaffer Art Museum and James Turrell's latest skyspace, "Twilight Epiphany."
READ MORE

11.08.13: Alexandra Lange

L.A. Loves Deborah Sussman
A Kickstarter for an upcming exhibition on the wotk of Deborah Sussman in Los Angeles.
READ MORE

10.14.13: Alexandra Lange

MoMA's Modern Women
The Museum of Modern Art's new installation, "Designing Modern Women," could have made a bolder statement about the transformative role of women in 20th century design and architecture.
READ MORE

09.30.13: Elizabeth Guffey

Design For the Rest of Us: Where Are Design Museums’ Benches?
What a lack of benches in design musems means for the exhibits.
READ MORE

08.30.13: Alexandra Lange

A World of Paste and Paper
Today's obsession with digital renderings sparked two exhibitions that suggest a handmade, but far from quaint, corrective.
READ MORE

08.29.13: Rick Poynor

The Hotel that Dreamed It Was a Museum
The Walpole Bay Hotel: Living Museum, junk-clogged bane of hotel inspectors, or Wunderkammer?
READ MORE

07.23.13: Alexandra Lange

Nevermind the Masterpiece
What's your "Masterpiece of Everyday New York"? A broken umbrella? A shirtwaist? Discarded gum?
READ MORE

07.08.13: Alexandra Lange

How To Unforget
The straightforward logic of "A Handbook of California Design" makes it the first step in unforgetting two generations of makers.
READ MORE

07.01.13: Alexandra Lange

An ABC of the ABCs
Were you a child? Did you read books? Then the NYPL's "ABC of It" serves as a portal back in time.
READ MORE

05.14.13: Alexandra Lange

Anxiety, Culture and Commerce
Is the museum store a distraction or an enticement?
READ MORE

04.18.13: Alexandra Lange

Architecture Without Signs
If you can't find the entrance, there's a problem with the architecture.
READ MORE

03.10.13: Rick Poynor

Utopian Image: Politics and Posters
By celebrating political posters for their design do we collude with the established order they seek to challenge?
READ MORE

03.07.13: Alexandra Lange

After the Museum: The Tumblr
To create metamuseum.tumblr.com, a multi-museum, multi-curator Tumblr @MADMuseum, I saw it as a kind of curatorial game: Show Me What You’ve Got.
READ MORE

02.17.13: Alexandra Lange

Patterns of Houston
How do you critique the urbanism of Houston? Look for patterns.
READ MORE

12.10.12: Mark Lamster, Alexandra Lange

Lunch With The Critics: Third-Annual Year-End Awards
Idiosyncratic awards bestowed on architecture, design and media.
READ MORE

12.03.12: Alexandra Lange

Reintroducing the Tilletts
If you are interested in textile design, mid-century style, or creative partnerships, I would urge you to go visit “The World of D.D. and Leslie Tillett” at the Museum of the City of New York.
READ MORE

11.18.12: Rick Poynor

Robert Brownjohn: Photos at Street Level
The Victoria and Albert Museum has put 18 of Robert Brownjohn’s photographs on display for the first time.
READ MORE

10.14.12: Alexandra Lange

Shopping With Sandro, and Other Tumblr Delights
Digitizing the Miller House Collection, and other museum and corporate visual archives on Tumblr.
READ MORE

10.08.12: Alexandra Lange

Having Fun at the Museum
Blocks, rocket ships, playgrounds and balls: the hidden meaning of playthings at the Museum of Modern Art.
READ MORE

10.05.12: Rick Poynor

The Museum of Communicating Objects
Orhan Pamuk’s The Innocence of Objects is an illuminating guide to his Museum of Innocence in Istanbul.
READ MORE

09.10.12: Alexandra Lange

Someone Else's Shangri La
An exhibition of Doris Duke's Honolulu mansion, Shangri La, proves a "Spanish-Moorish-Persian-Indian complex" works as theater.
READ MORE

07.28.12: Alexandra Lange

Hiking the Museum
Ennead Architects’ new Natural History Museum of Utah works to make natural history seem like the ongoing process of discovery that it is, layering geology and topography, paleontology and interactivity.
READ MORE

05.30.12: Alexandra Lange

Dress Your Family in Formica and Faux Bois
The materials of architecture and interiors in the fashions of Schiaparelli and Prada.
READ MORE

05.24.12: David Cabianca

Graphic Design is Dead, Long Live Graphic Design
A review of Graphic Design: Now in Production, opening May 26, 2012 in New York City.
READ MORE

05.15.12: Rick Poynor

The Strange Afterlife of Common Objects
In lstanbul shops like The Works: “Objects of Desire,” the novelist Orhan Pamuk found the artifacts for his newly opened Museum of Innocence.
READ MORE

03.29.12: Rick Poynor

On Display: Museum of Broken Relationships
The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb is a public space consecrated to a universal experience of sadness and loss.
READ MORE

02.22.12: Alexandra Lange

Reassembling the American Dream
"Foreclosed" at the Museum of Modern Art asks what people really like about suburban living. And then, Can they do that with less?
READ MORE

01.09.12: Rick Poynor

Read All That? You Must be Kidding Me
Ellen Lupton’s essay about reading and writing for Graphic Design: Now in Production misses some key points.
READ MORE

12.07.11: Alexandra Lange

When Modernists Get Crafty
The Museum of Arts and Design's Crafting Modernism makes a good case for bringing back macrame.
READ MORE

10.22.11: Rick Poynor

On Display: The Kirkland Museum
If I had to pick just one Denver museum to revisit, it would be the fabulous Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art.
READ MORE

10.12.11: Alexandra Lange

Should We Boycott the New Barnes?
More ethical quandaries about buildings and food.
READ MORE

09.19.11: Alexandra Lange

What the Cooper-Hewitt Needs: More Design, Less Talk
My six suggestions for how to fix the National Design Museum.
READ MORE

06.15.11: Alexandra Lange

Let's Go! World's Fairs of the 1930s
"Designing Tomorrow" at the National Building Museum showcases the optimisim, futurism and dreamy design ideas of the 1930s.
READ MORE

06.14.11: Rick Poynor

Lost Inside the Collector's Cabinet
The Collector’s Cabinet at the Frederic Marès Museum in Barcelona is a mind-bending, sense-bedazzling palace of artifactual wonders.
READ MORE

05.12.11: Alexandra Lange

Manhattan Museum Musical Chairs
Bye, bye Museum of American Folk Art. Hello the forward march of the Modern.
READ MORE

04.29.11: Alexandra Lange

In T: High Fiber
"Knoll Textiles, 1945-2010" opens new territory in midcentury design – upholstery – and shows us more than a few new female designers.

READ MORE

04.12.11: Alexandra Lange

All That Glitters (and Swoops)
What reviews of aberrant design and Van Cleef diamonds have in common: the death of the design show.

READ MORE

04.01.11: Rick Poynor

Wim Crouwel: The Ghost in the Machine
Far from suppressing his own creative personality in the way he advised, Wim Crouwel was expressing it to the full.
READ MORE

01.05.11: John Thackara

Afghan Culture Museum
A project to create a virtual museum of Afghan culture has been launched in Paris by an independent producer, Pascale Bastide.
READ MORE

12.23.10: Mark Lamster

The Once & Future Whitney Museum
The Whitney: An Architectural Tour.
READ MORE

12.02.10: Alexandra Lange

Networks Before the Internet
A new exhibit at the Noguchi Museum shows how small and intertwined were the worlds of mid-century art, design and architecture.
READ MORE

11.22.10: Nancy Levinson

News/Print
The Last Newspaper, New City Reader, Newsstand: Print news may be dying, but it's alive in the galleries.
READ MORE

10.25.10: Alexandra Lange

Join the Conversation!
I am hosting this week's Glass House Conversations, inspired by the comments (on and off the blogosphere) in reaction to my negative review of the Museum of Modern Art's "Small Scale, Big Change" exhibition.
READ MORE

10.07.10: Alexandra Lange

Change Observer: "Small Scale" Reviewed
My review of the Museum of Modern Art's first foray into socially conscious design: Small Scale, Big Change.
READ MORE

09.07.10: Alexandra Lange

Coming to the V&A: Tower of Power
It is not often that a museum blogs about Postmodernism, Michael Sorkin (one of the great take-downs) and credits the (female) renderer who made the AT&T Building look the best it ever has.
READ MORE

07.10.10: Alexandra Lange

Heavens
I finally managed to visit back-to-back versions of my idea of heaven: A Single Man — Tom Ford’s tribute to 1960s style — and Dia:Beacon
READ MORE

06.22.10: Alexandra Lange

A Return to Modern Roots
I finally got a chance to see the new North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, by Thomas Phifer & Partners, which opened this spring.
READ MORE

06.03.10: Alexandra Lange

My .02 on the Whitney
Everyone has taken their shot at outrage regarding the Whitney's move to a Renzo Piano building at the base of the High Line.
READ MORE

04.22.10: Alexandra Lange

Junior Critics
One of the pleasures of teaching is when your students actually surprise you.
READ MORE

04.19.10: Mark Lamster

Staggered Profiles
The Whitney has never given up its dreams and now has its eyes on a plot at the foot of the High Line in the Meat Market, with Renzo Piano as designer.
READ MORE

04.02.10: Mark Lamster

A Very Good Book
Anyone who sees fit to pontificate on the status and future of the book should be legally obligated to see the MET's exhibition of the Limbourg brothers' Belles Heures of Jean, Duc de Berry.
READ MORE

02.23.10: Alexandra Lange

Disney, Without Sneering
Designed by Rockwell Group, the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco opened to little buzz.
READ MORE

02.06.10: Alexandra Lange

On The Moment: Plastic Fantastic
“Bakelite in Yonkers: Pioneering the Age of Plastics,” an exhibition at the Hudson River Museum, showcases 300 objects from the 1910s to the early 21st century.
READ MORE

02.03.10: Alexandra Lange

In AN 02: As the Tide Turns
In MoMA’s Rising Currents exhibition, certain tropes of contemporary waterfront design immediately surfaced.
READ MORE

01.20.10: Alexandra Lange

Hands-On: The Gropius Touch
I couldn’t believe no one else had noticed that Ati Gropius Johansen was coming to the MoMA, and it seemed like a piece of history.
READ MORE

01.12.10: Alexandra Lange

Snip Snip Snip
The Museum of Arts & Design’s Slash: Paper Under the Knife, is the must-see of the winter season.
READ MORE

01.11.10: Mark Lamster

Big City, Big Game
As a kid, I was never one for the dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History. I preferred the darkened precincts of the Hayden Planetarium, specifically the giant mechanical spider that was its Zeiss Mark VI projector, a truly amazing contraption.
READ MORE

11.29.09: Alexandra Lange

Look Again
When visiting the Eero Saarinen exhibit at Museum of the City of New York, be sure to look at the photographs from Look Magazine.
READ MORE

11.16.09: Alexandra Lange

Smaller Wonder: Brooklyn Children's Museum
My first encounter with the expanded Brooklyn Children’s Museum made me ask several questions.
READ MORE

11.06.09: Alexandra Lange

Review: The Price of Fitting In
My review of the new exhibit at the Center for Architecture, Context/Contrast: New Architecture in Historic Districts, 1967-2009.
READ MORE

11.04.09: Alexandra Lange

Back to School
If you stand in a certain spot in the second room of the MoMA’s new exhibition Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity you can see Marcel Breuer becoming modern.
READ MORE

11.03.09: Mark Lamster

From Bauhaus to My House
Nearly thirty years ago, Tom Wolfe made quite a splash with his reactionary little attack on modern architecture.
READ MORE

11.02.09: Mark Lamster

A Renaissance Who Dunnit
Tomorrow the Metropolitan Museum will put on display a sculpture of a boy archer that made headlines about a decade ago when a New York art historian claimed it was the work of Michelangelo.
READ MORE

10.03.09: Alexandra Lange

White Knight
With the opening of Less and More, the new exhibition of Dieter Rams' work, I'm reminded of how frustrating it is that his past work is not in production.
READ MORE

09.22.09: Mark Lamster

Ron Arad at MoMA
I'm not sold on Arad as an architect, but his material experimentation is certainly admirable
READ MORE

08.20.09: Alexandra Lange

Rearranging, Part 2
I thought about the power of categories as I visited two exhibitions at the MoMA: Waste Not by Song Dong and No Discipline by Ron Arad.
READ MORE

08.06.09: Alexandra Lange

Speechless
Amongst my grandfather's things, we found a postcard of the Denver Art Musuem, designed by Gio Ponti in 1971.
READ MORE

07.17.09: Mark Lamster

A Plea for Crazy in Architecture
John Beckmann of the firm Axis Mundi is promoting an alternative to the Jean Nouvel tower that looks like a half-baked amalgam of several MVRDV projects.
READ MORE

06.29.09: Mark Lamster

Meet James Ensor
It's been some three decades since James Ensor has had a major museum exhibition in the US, which makes MoMA's new show a rare pleasure.
READ MORE

06.25.09: Mark Lamster

MAS Macho
Behold the Museum aan de stroom (MAS), Antwerp's new municipal history museum. The building, designed by the Dutch architects Neutelings Riedijk, is due to open late next year.
READ MORE

06.12.09: Mark Lamster

Red Star
The New York-Amsterdam connection has been much in the news of late, and rightly so, as this is the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's Dutch-sponsored voyage of American discovery.
READ MORE

06.11.09: Mark Lamster

Moscow's Jewish Museum
Earlier this week, plans were released for the new Jewish museum in Moscow.
READ MORE

06.05.09: Mark Lamster

Tormented Youth
Next week the MET will put on display Michelangelo's "Torment of Saint Anthony," reputedly the artist's first painting.
READ MORE

05.27.09: Mark Lamster

Urban Camouflage
As the Magritte Museum was prepared for its unveiling, the building was cloaked by a brilliant trompe-l'oeil construction wall, very much in the spirit of the artist.
READ MORE

05.20.09: Julie Lasky

This End Up: Renzo Piano's Modern Wing

Julie Lasky reviews the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing.


READ MORE

05.11.09: Mark Lamster

Back to the Future
Over on the Itinerant Urbanist, Karrie Jacobs recently wrote about her first impression of Daniel Libeskind's addition to the Contemporary Jewish Museum, in San Francisco.
READ MORE

04.07.09: Mark Lamster

Look Both Ways: On the Streets of Philadelphia
Last week I found myself with a couple of hours to kill in Philadelphia and decided to spend them at the art museum.
READ MORE

11.19.08: Alexandra Lange

The Brooklyn Children's Museum
The Brooklyn Children's Museum is hardly subtle in its attempt to please the Toys "R" Us crowd.

READ MORE

06.05.08: Alice Twemlow

Graphic Design at the Museum
The work of Graphic Thought Facility, a London-based graphic design consultancy, is on exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago until August 17. It’s the first time the Art Institute has staged a show solely on contemporary design...
READ MORE

04.07.08: Lorraine Wild

100%
So, it’s 1966 and two guys are hanging around their Los Angeles apartment, musing about the sort of things that people mused about in the Sixties. The aesthetic philosophers in question were the artist Ed Ruscha and the artist/comedy writer/composer/performer Mason Williams...
READ MORE

11.11.07: Michael Bierut

How To Be Ugly
Whether reactionary spasm or irrevocable paradigm shift, the new trend is making design that looks ugly. The trick is to surround it with enough attitude so it will be properly perceived not as the product of everyday incompetence, but rather as evidence of one's attunement with the zeitgeist.
READ MORE

08.20.07: David Stairs

Why Design Won't Save the World
After ten months in Africa, I recently visited the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum to see Design for the Other 90%. Here, I thought, was an exhibition I could enthusiastically embrace. Unfortunately...
READ MORE

03.08.07: Dan Nadel

This is Not My Design Life Now
In the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's current triennial exhibition, Design Life Now, the selections in graphics and pop culture are conservative and long out-of-date. To Dan Nadel, 2006 looks a lot like 2000.
READ MORE

07.14.06: William Drenttel

Move It Down . . . A Little to the Right
That some years ago, some poor sign installer went to put the first letter of the name of the museum up on the wall, and someone screamed, "No, you idiot! Lower! Much Lower! Get it down close to the edge. And a quarter-inch to the right." That the building is the Guggenheim Museum, and that the architect was Frank Lloyd Wright, makes this photographic detail especially interesting.
READ MORE

04.03.06: William Drenttel

Meet Me in St. Louis: The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts makes the radical assumption that the experience of art is about contemplation. Take your time. You are alone here. The light will change if you stay long enough.
READ MORE

01.19.06: Adrian Shaughnessy

Robert Brownjohn and The Big Idea

READ MORE

07.04.05: Lorraine Wild

Exhibitions by Renzo Piano and 2x4
Both architect Renzo Piano and graphic designers 2x4 are at the top of their respective games as designers, but the way they approach their own exhibitions (at LACMA and SFMOMA, respectively) places them at opposite poles of a style of communication, and maybe even belief.
READ MORE

04.03.05: Michael Bierut

Homage to the Squares
The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's exhibition Design is not Art provides a useful contrast to an simultaneous exhibition of the work of Josef and Anni Albers, and demonstrates differences between art and design.
READ MORE

10.29.04: Rick Poynor

Fear and Loathing at the Design Museum
James Dyson has accused the Design Museum in London of ruining its reputation with frivolous exhibitions. For many bemused onlookers, his complaints were out of touch with evolving public perceptions of design.

READ MORE

08.10.04: Jessica Helfand

Ladislav Sutnar: Mechanical Beauty

READ MORE

07.14.04: Michael Bierut

To Hell with the Simple Paper Clip
Answering the question "What's your favorite designed object?" with something humble and anonymous may be a tiresome cliche, but it's one that resonates with editors of the New York Times Magazine and curators at the Museum of Modern Art.
READ MORE

06.06.04: Rick Poynor

Modernising MoMA: Design on Display
MoMA is broadening its approach to graphic design. Recovering this material history will assist us in understanding our broader cultural history and help to educate a more aware generation of visual communicators.
READ MORE

03.21.04: Rick Poynor

Jan van Toorn: Arguing with Visual Means
Jan van Toorn’s designs embody an idea about citizenship. They address viewers as critical, thinking individuals who can be expected to take an informed and skeptical interest in the circumstances of their world.
READ MORE

03.16.04: Jessica Helfand

Blanket Statements

READ MORE

12.02.03: Rick Poynor

Remember Picelj
The English-speaking world knows little about the design history of Communist Europe. Few will have heard of the distinguished Slovenian Ivan Picelj. His prints ask us to remember; they are full of yearning.
READ MORE

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS