California Literary Review


Book Review: Christ to Coke: How Image Becomes Icon by Martin Kemp


November 21st, 2011

The Vietnam War had been shredding bodies and hopes for so long that it hardly seemed possible that a single image of human conflict could pierce through the war’s futility and touch our hearts. And then photographer Nick Ut captured “The Girl in the Picture” on film. He aimed his Leica M-2 camera and with one quick “click,” Phan Thi Kim Phuc, became a symbol of the horror of the Vietnam War and by extension all wars.

Art Review: Avant-Garde Art in Everyday Life, Art Institute of Chicago


August 7th, 2011

Stasis, whether in art, life, economics or political culture, was distasteful and to be done away with. Having spent much of the 1920’s doing typographic and book design as well as designing toys and puppets, Sutnar was well-placed to bring his left-of-center, democracy-inspired radicalism to everything from porcelain to book covers.

Collab: Four Decades of Giving Modern and Contemporary Design, Philadelphia Museum of Art


June 9th, 2011

Put them together as an integrated unit and you have a masterpiece. And in doing so, you have a vivid testimonial to Nelson’s famous 1965 evocation of “junk” as the “crowning glory” of modern consumer culture, “the symbol as clear a statement as the pyramids, the Parthenon, the cathedrals … the rusty, lovely, brilliant symbol of the dying years of your time. Junk is your ultimate landscape.”

Art Review: Alessi: Ethical and Radical at the Philadelphia Museum of Art


November 30th, 2010

The Tea and Coffee Piazza sets, produced in limited editions of ninety-nine, with three artist’s proofs, were a critical success. The project served to introduce Michael Graves to the Alessi “stable,” while traveling exhibits informed museum patrons on the ways that high art and industrial design could form working partnerships. Mendini’s original conception was vindicated.

A Match Made in Heaven: Jeff Koons’ BMW Art Car


April 12th, 2010

Jeff Koons: design sketch for the 17th BMW Art Car 2010 © Jeff Koons, Image Source: Cartype On April 6th, international art star, Jeff Koons revealed his design for his BMW art car.  The company has been commisioning artists to adorn  vehicles since 1975.  The project started when Hervé Poulain, an auctioneer and race car driver asked his friend, Alexander Calder, to […]

The Wonderful World of Maira Kalman


March 29th, 2010

Well, Susan, 2004-05 by Maira Kalman [Image source: How Blog] The intelligent curating at Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art always makes a walk through its galleries worthwhile. The ICA should also be lauded for the tremendous variety of subjects and media that it tackles. In past years, the small museum has explored video art, experimental […]

Museums: Attracting a Younger Crowd


March 25th, 2010

Brooklyn Museum iPhone Application Museum-goers today are very different than they were one hundred years ago.  Art institutions have been updating their communications and marketing strategies in order to attract and hold the attention of socially active, tech-savvy visitors.  A recent special section on museums in the New York Times explores some of the ways […]

A Case for Warhol’s Jews


March 13th, 2010

Since its in 1980, Critics have lambasted Warhol’s “Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century” as one-dimensional and exploitative. Several recent shows have reawakened the controversy surrounding the project. After traveling to San Francisco and New York in 2008-2009, the series is now on display in a retrospective at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center. In response to these shows, many contemporary reviewers have repeated the argument that Warhol was motivated solely by profit and that he trivialized important historical figures. Perhaps it is time to check our cynicism and explore how the series fits into his oeuvre and intellectual interests.

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