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Popular Culture


04.04.14: Samantha García

Inalienable Rights, Wolfsonian-Style
A review of  the inaugural "Power of Design" ideas festival in Miami.
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04.03.14: Adam Harrison Levy

Data Loss
Adam Harrison Levy on losing everything he had stored on his phone for three years.
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03.09.14: John Foster

Blues, Baptisms, and Prison Farms: The Lomax Snapshots of 1934-1950
Blues, Baptisms, and Prison Farms: The Lomax Snapshots of 1934-1950
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02.23.14: John Foster

The Dreamland Motel
A reivew of the vanishing signage of our American landscape.
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02.13.14: Owen Edwards

The Quickest Fix
A suggestion for an easy & quick design tweak that could help reduce concussions in the NFL.
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02.05.14: Rob Walker

Personal Packaging
Fondly revisiting the look and feel of the mixtape.
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02.01.14: Alexandra Lange

Criticism = Love
Why you have to love design to be a critic.
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01.13.14: Rick Poynor

The Compulsively Visual World of Pinterest
I have always liked Pinterest’s exclusively visual focus and unlimited boards structure. A week ago I joined.
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01.05.14: John Foster

Capturing Imagination
The ten most popular galleries from John Foster in 2013.
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12.25.13: Michael Bierut

And May All Your Christmases Be Carefully Staged So As To Appear White
A backstage story from George Balanchine's production of The Nutcracker dramatizes how difficult it is to create magical effects.
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12.06.13: Rick Poynor

Martin Sharp: From Satire to Psychedelia
The late Martin Sharp was a visual innovator whose work erased artificial distinctions between applied image-making and fine art.
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11.24.13: John Foster

Graphics of Authority
Accidental Mysteries for November 24, 2013 takes a look at the police cars that may or may not want to be seen.
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11.11.13: Rick Poynor

Collage Culture: Nostalgia and Critique
An interview with David Banash, author of Collage Culture: Readymades, Meaning, and the Age of Consumption.
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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.
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10.27.13: John Foster

Welcome to the Asylum
Accidental Mysteries for October 27, 2013 reaches deep into the creepiness of the asylum.
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10.10.13: Rick Poynor

New York: City of Spectacular Doors
For six years, Allan Markman crisscrossed New York taking pictures of remarkable doors for a new book.
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09.09.13: Mark Lamster

High Net Space: The New International Style
High Net Space: The New International Style
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07.29.13: Rick Poynor

Soft Machine's Dysfunctional Mechanism
An alternative cover for the French release of The Soft Machine’s first album alludes to the history of the machine in 20th-century art.
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06.23.13: John Foster

Birds of a Feather
This week's Accidental Mysteries focuses on groups of similar objects: Birds of a Feather.
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06.20.13: Rick Poynor

From the Archive: Upgrade Yourself!
If appearances matter more than ever, as we are constantly told, the personal makeover has become our most fundamental design task.
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06.02.13: Rick Poynor

The Irresistible Attraction of Self Storage
Self storage centers are places of private and public fascination and I always knew that one day I would succumb.
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05.14.13: Alexandra Lange

Anxiety, Culture and Commerce
Is the museum store a distraction or an enticement?
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05.14.13: Kit Hinrichs and Delphine Hirasuna

The Alphabet Card
Excerpt from The Alphabet Card, a new book by Kit Hinrichs and Delphine Hirasuna.
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05.08.13: Jessica Helfand

Our Shopping Lists, Our Selves
Jessica Helfand on lists: from the mundane to the historical, the shopping list to the Bill of Rights.
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03.31.13: John Foster

Drawn to Currency
The Accidental Mystery of Tim Prusmack's hand drawn currency.
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12.30.12: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries, 12.30.12
Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is the Art of Comic Books.
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12.19.12: Alexandra Lange

Bad Taste True Confessions: Erté
True confessions about my own bad taste. I loved Erté. Did you?
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12.10.12: Mark Lamster, Alexandra Lange

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

Accidental Mysteries, 12.09.12
Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is hands.
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11.25.12: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries, 11.25.12
Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is Motorcycle Club Cuts as American Folk Art.
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11.21.12: Alexandra Lange

3rd Annual Holiday Card Review
Holiday card designs for 2012 reveal the social media preoccupations of their buyers, whether it is Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram or old-fashioned (perhaps Downton Abbey-inspired?) stationery.
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11.18.12: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries, 11.18.12
Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is Lunchboxes.
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10.14.12: Rick Poynor

The Art of Punk and the Punk Aesthetic
Punk has two new graphic histories: Punk: An Aesthetic and The Art of Punk. What conclusions do they draw?
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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.
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08.29.12: Rob Walker

Focusing On 'Optics'
Optics: The indispensible buzzword for those who analyze pseudo-events.
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06.29.12: Alexandra Lange

The Shape of Lunch
"Lunch Hour NYC," a new exhibition at the New York Public Library, defines the midday meal as an urban invention.
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06.24.12: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries: 06.24.12
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is Zippos from VietNam.
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06.15.12: Alexandra Lange

The Charismatic Megafauna of Design
Identifying the "charismatic megafauna" of design and the critical uses of their popularity.
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06.04.12: Michael Bierut

I Love the 80s
Miami Vice: the quintessential postmodern design artifact, in all its glory and all its disgrace.
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06.03.12: John Foster

Bumbos, Swirlys and a Chinese Birdcage: A Snapshot of Marbles
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is marbles.
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05.31.12: Rick Poynor

From the Archive: Graphic Metallica
Heavy metal’s extremity, as a set of aesthetic choices and as a way of life, exerts an enduring fascination.
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05.20.12: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries, 05.20.12
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is paper folding art.
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04.22.12: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries, 04.22.12
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is Superheroes.
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04.08.12: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries, 04.08.12
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is St. Louis Bus Passes from the 1940s.
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04.05.12: Alexandra Lange

Frank Lloyd Wright + Katniss Everdeen
On photographing architecture as sculpture and telling stories via architecture.
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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.
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02.26.12: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries, 02.26.12
Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment. This week's focus is firearms.
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02.19.12: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries, 02.19.12
This collection of underground music and culture events flyers come from the personal online collection of Chicago collector Marc Fischer.
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12.23.11: Rick Poynor

How We Learned to Live with Zombies
Zombie films, zombie walks, zombie shops, zombie TV series: our darkest fears are now mainstream.
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10.16.11: Rick Poynor

Did We Ever Stop Being Postmodern?
Like it or not, argues the V&A's exhibition about postmodernism and design, we are all postmodern now.
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09.06.11: Alexandra Lange

Stop That: Minimalist Posters
Make a minimalist poster, see your work travel the digital world.
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09.01.11: Rick Poynor

Chris Foss and the Technological Sublime
Is cult science fiction artist Chris Foss’s work just highly effective illustration, or can it be seen as a visionary form of art?
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08.02.11: Nancy Levinson

A Dream House for Architect Barbie
Just in time for the midsummer heat, Architect Barbie's got a competition-winning new dream house in Malibu.
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07.29.11: Alexandra Lange

The Uses of Cranks
Maybe comedy isn't Larry David's calling.
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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.
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04.12.11: Rick Poynor

Stewart Mackinnon: Ruptured and Remade
Why, at the height of his early success, did a brilliant British illustrator decide to walk away and what happened next?
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02.18.11: Nancy Levinson

Architect Barbie
Architect Barbie: the world's most famous doll has a new career.
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01.19.11: Alexandra Lange

What Should Food Look Like?
Food packaging and what it says about class.
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12.30.10: Rick Poynor

Surrealism in the Pre-School Years
A poet described postcards as a “Lilliputian hallucination of the world”: he must have seen the surreal babies.
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11.29.10: Alexandra Lange

Sans Serif Seasons Greetings
The market in "modern" holiday cards grows every year, but the choices--Helvetica, brown and baby blue, color blocks--still seem dated.
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11.26.10: Jessica Helfand

Pretty Pictures, Bad Judgment
If a picture's worth a thousand words, a publically broadcast picture is amplified, multiplied and cast out into a world where it can go anywhere.
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10.03.10: John Foster

Accidental Mysteries, 10.03.10
Accidental Mysteries, a new weekly cabinet of curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age.
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08.19.10: Johanna Blakley

The Costs of Ownership: Why Copyright Protection Will Hurt the Fashion Industry
New copyright protection for fashion designs is only going to hurt an already struggling industry.
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07.25.10: Michael Bierut

Jerry Della Femina, Mad Men, and the Cult of Advertising Personality
A review of Jerry Della Femina's From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor, published in a new edition on the occasion of the debut of the fourth season of the AMC series Mad Men.
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07.13.10: Gerry Shamray

Harvey and Me
A remembrance of comic artist and graphic novelist Harvey Pekar by an illustrator who worked with him throughout his career, fellow Clevelander Gerry Shamray.
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10.05.09: Owen Edwards

Not the Same Old Same Old
It’s hard not to agree that cars, though better designed and engineered than ever, are often pressed into plebian duty.
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04.14.09: Mark Lamster

Theirs Go to Twaalf
Meet Lamster (no relation), Belgium's ascendant metal goliath.
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10.28.07: Rob Walker

Timeless Object
What makes a useless-seeming watch potentially more valuable — in identity terms — than, say, regular jewelry?
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04.03.07: Rick Poynor

Dancing to the Sound in Your Head
We might not appreciate advertising conducted like a saturation bombing campaign in public spaces. Yet now, to complicate things, the personal stereo is being used as a way of reasserting spontaneity, exuberance and passion in over-controlled public places.
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01.07.07: Rob Walker

Unconsumption
Getting new stuff can feel really good. Most everybody knows that. Most everybody also knows — that utility can fade, pleasure can be fleeting and the whole thought-that-counts thing is especially ephemeral.
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