Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Sat 1 May 2010 3:05 pm   //   Posted in: Art, New York is different

Recommended: Big Bambú at The Met

Big Bambú is part sculpture, part engineering, part adventure sports, and all about the living organism of the city.

At its most literal, it’s a building-sized bird’s nest of bamboo lashed together with nylon cord on the roof of The Met, rising over the canopy of Central Park. It opened this week. Artists Doug and Mike Starn and their team of rock-climber assistants are planning to keep building it higher until the installation closes in October. The city considers it a construction site; it gets inspected and weight-tested.

There are two ways to see it. One is to go up to roof of The Met any time, where you can view it from the solid footing of the concrete deck. The other way is to take a tour, in which the Met staff lead you and 14 other people up a bamboo walkway that winds through this nest and up into the sky. Trust me: Go do the tour. I went this morning, getting to the Met at 9:15 and securing a ticket for the first tour at 10 a.m. It’s an enveloping art experience not dissimilar from The Gates in 2005. I’m a total sucker for stuff like this. What a view!


Wed 9 Dec 2009 8:18 am   //   Posted in: Art, Books

The monster at the end of this blog

I’ve been thinking about my parents. Last week I turned 30. When my mom and dad were 30, they were providing for and raising a 10-month-old and a 3-year-old (me). By contrast, my biggest responsibility is taking care of a cat.

This week I read that Sesame Workshop is publishing some free e-books for children. One of them is “The Monster at the End of This Book,” first printed in 1971. I have dim memories of this book being read to me by my mom.


Thu 19 Nov 2009 7:32 pm   //   Posted in: Art, New York is different, Photos

Jeanne-Claude, 1935-2009





Photos from Central Park, February 2005. More about Jeanne-Claude.

Mon 24 Aug 2009 10:00 am   //   Posted in: Art, Transit

NYC subway map, without subways

I was changing trains the Chambers Street Subway station last week and saw this unusual poster:


It’s obviously a riff on this standard MTA poster seen in many stations: (more…)

Wed 10 Jun 2009 6:56 am   //   Posted in: Art

Change we can believe in

On my recent trip to Ohio I got two of the new pennies back in change. First time I’ve seen them. I received the second of four 2009 commemorative penny designs honoring President Lincoln’s 200th birthday. It shows, according to the U.S. Mint, “a young Lincoln educating himself while working as a rail splitter in Indiana.”

Currency design is hard, and trying to tell a man’s life story on the reverse side of a tiny coin is nearly impossible. I’m not crazy about the Lincoln log design, but it was the first time in memory that I actually stopped to look at a penny. The standard penny design is so familiar that we couldn’t evaluate it if we wanted to. This new series is the American penny’s chance to say “Look at me! Pay attention!” This is a good thing. It manages to make the penny less annoying!

That’s my two cents anyway. What do you think of Lincoln thinkin’?

Tue 24 Feb 2009 8:00 am   //   Posted in: Art, Failure, Typography

An appreication: Tropicana packaging, 2009-09

Item: The new Tropicana juice carton, designed by Arnell Group and introduced last month, is so loathed by customers that PepsiCo is switching back to the old design.

Let us raise a glass of juice and toast Tropicana for messing with the juice carton! The rejected design (which, by the way, took 30 people five months to develop) was just right for these times. It had simple graphics, bold san-serif type and a functional color scheme. The only illustration was a picture of the product in its purest form: juice in a glass. The horizontal bar on the top of each carton made it easy to spot the kind of juice you wanted in the supermarket. And best of all, the Tropicana carton included exactly one whimsical indulgence: A plastic cap shaped like an orange – easy to grip and twist, a surprise-and-delight feature.

Unfortunately, customers were unprepared for this bold leap toward modernism. And Tropicana caved once initial feedback proved negative. (Wasn’t at least one of those 30 design people in charge of customer research?) I enjoy orange juice at breakfast, and this carton was a nice thing to look at for a few seconds every morning. It will be missed. [Sound of “Danny Boy” being played on bagpipes.]

Wed 18 Feb 2009 10:00 am   //   Posted in: Art, Typography

Attack of the terrible logos

Are we in the dark ages of logo design? Just look at the above examples – beginning with the Payless logo introduced in 2006 and continuing through the Kraft Foods logo introduced yesterday. I mean, really? Is everybody using the same WordArt template?

Even the new Pepsi logo has been derided variously as a rip-off of the Obama campaign logo to an exercise in delusional self-importance.

Wed 11 Feb 2009 8:00 am   //   Posted in: Art, Sterling

Make an Obama poster for EVERYONE!

I’ve been spending too much time writing about the Shepard Fairey fair use lawsuit. Gotta take time to have some fun with it.

Make your own at

Tue 10 Feb 2009 8:00 am   //   Posted in: Art, Cartoons

Saturday at the Comic Con, bad comic version

Presenting an ineptly illustrated cartoon about our trip Saturday to the New York Comic Con. (No good reason why I’m posting this, just wanted to try something different. Apologies to my friends on whom these cartoon characters are based!)


Fri 14 Nov 2008 5:33 pm   //   Posted in: Art, Bicycles

I totally called the winning bike rack design

Last month I wrote about the New York City bike rack design competition. After seeing all the experimental bike racks installed in the Astor Place traffic island near my office, my favorite was the circular rack seen here…

Recently they announced the winning design, and guess what won? Right! From the design competition blog:

“Ian Mahaffy and Maarten De Greeve’s design reflects a modern simplicity that will greatly enhance the City’s streetscape. The rack is round with a horizontal crossbar, evoking an abstracted bicycle tire. Constructed of cast-metal, the design is elegant yet sturdy enough to withstand the harshest street environments.”

Here’s hoping the city installs these racks in pairs, both for convenience and aesthetics.

(From The Times, spotted first at Cityspecific.)