Painter Robert Colescott has died at the age of 83. From his New York Times obituary, by Roberta Smith:
“Mr. Colescott represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1997, the first African-American to do so. By then he was well known for pitting the painterly against the political to create giddily joyful, destabilized compositions that satirized, and offended, without regard to race, creed, gender or political leaning.
People of all colors haunt Mr. Colescott’s paintings, mostly as chimerical stereotypes that exchange attributes freely. Their mottled skin tones often suggest one race seeping through another. Their tumultuous interactions evoke a volatile mixture of suspicion, desire, pain and vitality. His slurred shapes, wobbly drawing and patchy brushwork imply that no truths can be held to be self-evident, that life is mired in slippery layers of false piety, self-interest and greed, but also lust, pleasure and irreverence.”
Last Saturday Lauren and I checked out Gary Hustwit’s latest film Objectified at the Gene Siskel Film Center. I have to be honest, I loved Hustwit’s previous documentary Helvetica, so I was really excited to see a new design documentary. The film asks the viewer to not only confront the idea that all of the objects we encounter in our day to day lives are designed but also who designed these objects. The all star cast includes Chris Bangle, Davin Stowell, Dan Formosa , Dieter Rams, Nato Fukusawa, Jonathan Ive, Mac Newson, Rob Walker, and the entertaining Karim Rashid.
I enjoyed Dieter Rams’, the former design director for Braun, list of what makes a good design. In essence , he believes a good design requires the least amount of designing. He names apple as one of the companies with the best design. As much as I enjoy apple products I wish the film felt less like an apple ad and investigated some more aspects of their designs. Like why are their computers designed in a way that makes them difficult to take apart and reassemble without destroying?
I felt like the movie was really easy to consume. Everything is very agreeable, even the geek chic soundtrack. I wished they went a little more into the topic of consumerism, though. In the end all of the designers are designing for a pay check, and this was touched upon, but I wanted to see a bit more of the marketing of goods that most people already own.
John Mahoney, summed up Hustwit’s strengths in his post on Gizmodo, saying “But what’s great (and where Helvetica also ruled) is that Hustwit is a master interviewer. He gets his subjects to speak about what can be a jargon and marketing-voodoo laden industry with total clarity and comfort that folks that didn’t go to design school can comprehend freely. Ive, holding up the single aluminum block from which a unibody MacBook is hewn while trying to control his massive biceps, speaks about how designers are ultimately obsessive, borderline neurotic people. He can’t look at an object anywhere without seeing the multiple layers of intent involved-who designed it, who it’s designed for, what it does well. To Ive, it’s an illness.”
When Lauren and I walked out of the theater we both questioned what Hustwit would come up with next. According to the documentary blog, Hustwit has said that this film is in fact the second part of to a “design trilogy”. I am excited to see what he has in store next, but doubt it could top Helvetica.
Check out Hustwit’s twitter page to see where the film will be screening.
Objectified will be playing at the Gene Siskel at the Following times. For more info check out their website.
Fri. and Mon.-Thu. at 6:00 pm, 7:30 pm, and 9:00 pm;
Sat. at 3:00 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:00 pm, 7:30 pm, and 9:00 pm;
Sun. at 3:00 pm, 4:30 pm, and 6:00 pm
I am in Denver at the moment watching my sister box in the US National Championships. I am heading over to the MCA Denver to check out their Damien Hirst and Anthony Goicolea shows. For Tuesaday’s pick I chose Anthony Goicolea’s Act of Contrition.
Hey all, BaS’s own Kathryn Born’s new blog for Chicago Now is up and running! Called Art Talk Chicago, it features reviews, gallery spotlights, friendly commentary on art in Chicago and guest posts by great Chicago arts writers like Paul Klein, who’s posting a series on important Chicago artists who aren’t exhibiting in galleries here, artist Dawoud Bey writing on government support for the arts, artist and Chicago State University’s exhibitions curator Joyce Owens and Stephanie Burke (who’s writing for us, too!). Stephanie also compiled two fabulous Google maps of Chicago’s commercial and alternative art spaces for the site (just when I think I’m starting to get a handle on them, I see maps like these and realize I’ve barely scratched the surface).
Yay People! If you haven’t already, go on over and check it out.