Category Archives: Arts & Literature

Top New Media Books: “Mag Men – Fifty Years Of Making Magazines”

Richly illustrated with the covers and interiors that defined their careers, Mag Men is bursting with vivid examples of Bernard and Glaser’s work, designed to encapsulate their distinctive approach to visual storytelling and capture the major events and trends of the past half century.

Columbia University Press logoFor more than fifty years, Walter Bernard and Milton Glaser have revolutionized the look of magazine journalism. In Mag Men, Bernard and Glaser recount their storied careers, offering insiders’ perspective on some of the most iconic design work of the twentieth century. The authors look back on and analyze some of their most important and compelling projects, from the creation of New York magazine to redesigns of such publications as TimeFortuneParis Match, and The Nation, explaining how their designs complemented a story and shaped the visual identity of a magazine.

Mag Men Fifty Years of Making Magazines by Walter Bernard and Milton Glaser Dec 2019

Highlighting the importance of collaboration in magazine journalism, Bernard and Glaser detail their relationships with a variety of writers, editors, and artists, including Nora Ephron, Tom Wolfe, Gail Sheehy, David Levine, Seymour Chwast, Katherine Graham, Clay Felker, and Katrina vanden Heuvel. The book features a foreword by Gloria Steinem, who reflects on her work in magazines and her collaborations with Bernard and Glaser. At a time when uncertainty continues to cloud the future of print journalism, Mag Men offers not only a personal history from two of its most innovative figures but also a reminder and celebration of the visual impact and sense of style that only magazines can offer.

To read more and/or purchase: http://cup.columbia.edu/book/mag-men/9780231191807

Comics Books: “George Herriman’s Krazy Kat – The Complete Color Sundays 1935-1944” (Taschen)

George Herriman's Krazy Kat The Complete Color Sundays 1935-1944 TaschenThe premise is simple: a black cat loves scheming a white mouse who incessantly throws bricks at the cat’s head, which police dog Officer Pupp, secretly harboring a passionate love for the cat, tries to prevent.

George Herriman endlessly plays with the above formula in his legendary newspaper strip Krazy Kat, published from 1913 until his death in 1944. Through his witdetailed characterizationand visual-verbal creativity, Herriman introduced even the least comically-inclined to the young medium; Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, US President Woodrow Wilson, Jackson Pollock, Charlie Chaplin, Frank Capra, P.G. Wodehouse, Willem de Kooning—all KK fans among many others.

It was thanks to media tycoon William Randolph Hearst, a confirmed fan who gave Herriman carte blanche in his newspapers, that the artist was allowed to freely explore countless absurd and melancholy variations on the theme of unrequited love for years on end. Herriman unabashedly took advantage of this, radically exploring the medium’s potential and pushing all of its formal boundaries; readers had to put up with surreal, Dadaist sceneries, a language that whirled slang, neologisms, phonetic spelling, and scholarly references, and diffuse gender roles—making Krazy Kat probably the first gender-fluid star in comic history.

To read more or purchase: https://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/graphic_design/all/01173/facts.george_herrimans_krazy_kat_the_complete_color_sundays_19351944.htm

Top New Films: “A Hidden Life” Written & Directed By Terrence Malick (Dec 2019)

NY Times Film Review LogoThe arresting visual beauty of “A Hidden Life,” which was shot by Joerg Widmer, is essential to its own argument, and to Franz’s ethical and spiritual rebuttal to the concerns of his persecutors and would-be allies. The topography of the valley is spectacular, but so are the churches and cathedrals. Even the cells and offices are infused with an aesthetic intensity at once sensual and picturesque.

The hallmarks of Malick’s later style are here: the upward tilt of the camera to capture new vistas of sky and landscape; the brisk gliding along rivers and roads; the elegant cutting between the human and natural worlds; the reverence for music and the mistrust of speech. (The score is by James Newton Howard.)

To read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/12/movies/a-hidden-life-review.html

Film Actor Profiles: “An Essay On (64-Year Old) Willem Dafoe’s Face…” (Gentleman’s Journal)

From a Gentleman’s Journal online article:

Willem Dafoe Gentleman's Journal photo Dec 2019Thankfully, Willem Dafoe and Willem Dafoe’s face have used this innate recognisability to their joint advantage. To date, the actor has appeared in well over 100 films, and his prolific career can be charted through the cracks and comments — some nice, some not so nice — that those in the industry have made about his looks.

In fact, in the intervening decades, Hollywood has called many, many times — as have independent filmmakers, foreign studios, animation houses, video game developers and scores of theatres. On the big screen, Dafoe has taken roles in PlatoonMississippi BurningBorn on the Fourth of JulyThe English PatientAmerican Psycho and Shadow of the Vampire. He flew into The Aviator for a cameo, swung into the Spider-Man trilogy as the villainous Green Goblin and dipped his toe in voiceover work with Finding Nemo. He’s taken on John CarterJohn Wick and narrated films from Vox Lux to The Great Wall. He’s been Oscar-nominated several times, for playing characters as wild and disparate as hammy vampires, Floridian motel managers and Vincent van Gogh. The man is a chameleon — and has managed to become one despite having Willem Dafoe’s face.

To read entire article: https://www.thegentlemansjournal.com/article/willem-dafoe-interview-face-hollywood-cover/

Art Criticism: “A Poet’s Response To Carpeaux’s ‘Why Born Enslaved!'” (MetCollects Video)

“It is critical to reckon with the power imbalance enacted when a white male artist transposes the body of a black woman into an emblem of enslavement.”

Why Born Enslaved! was first conceived in 1868 by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, one of the greatest French sculptors of the nineteenth century. The bust portrays a woman straining against a rope pulled taut around her arms, back, and breast. Her shoulders project forward and the right tendon of her neck protrudes as she twists her body in one direction and turns her head sharply in the other.

A poet's response to Carpeaux's Why Born Enslaved! MetCollects Video

In The Gallery by Wendy S. Walters

The figure’s defiant, uplifted gaze extends her spiraling movement and conveys her perseverance through pain as the work’s rhetorical title, inscribed on the sculpture’s base, proclaims, “Pourquoi Naitre Esclave!”

To read more: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/online-features/metcollects/why-born-enslaved

New History Books: “American Disruptor – The Scandalous Life Of Leland Stanford” (De Wolk)

It is also the saga of how Stanford, once a serial failure, overcame all obstacles to become one of America’s most powerful and wealthiest men, using his high elective office to enrich himself before losing the one thing that mattered most to him – his only child and son. Scandal and intrigue would follow Stanford through his life, and even after his death, when his widow was murdered in a Honolulu hotel – a crime quickly covered up by the almost stillborn university she had saved.  Richly detailed and deeply researched, American Disruptor restores Leland Stanford’s rightful place as a revolutionary force and architect of modern America.

American Disruptor is the untold story of Leland Stanford – from his birth in a backwoods bar to the founding of the world-class university that became and remains the nucleus of Silicon Valley. The life of this robber baron, politician, and historic influencer is the astonishing tale of how one supremely ambitious man became this country’s original “disruptor” – reshaping industry and engineering one of the greatest raids on the public treasury for America’s transcontinental railroad, all while living more opulently than maharajas, kings, and emperors.

Art History: “Bullets And Steel” In Elizabethan Armor (Art Institute Of Chicago Video)

Jeffrey D. Wasson, the armorer who crafted the accurate replica of the Art Institute’s Greenwich armor, and Jonathan Tavares, the Art Institute’s associate curator of arms, armor and European decorative arts before 1700, discuss how utilizing experimental archaeology allowed them to uncover the methods used by Renaissance armorers in crafting the bulletproof protection.

To read more: https://www.artic.edu/events/4684/conversation-bullets-and-steelthe-making-of-elizabethan-armor-2