Verbal agreements

Yesterday I was lucky enough to get an advance look at the Guggenheim’s newest show, a project by Tino Seghal. While I don’t want to say too much about it — it’s something best experienced for yourself — I will say that it was remarkable and highly thought-provoking, a deceptively simple mix of walking, talking, and the Guggenheim’s remarkable architecture.

In advance of the show’s opening, the New York Times Magazine's Arthur Lubow penned a profile of Seghal, a man whose life and art are intensely intertwined. I particularly enjoyed Lubow’s description of selling and staging one of Seghal’s works:

As far as money goes, at a museum-discount price of $70,000 it was a minor MoMA purchase; but [Director Glenn] Lowry was not overstating the cost of time and energy. Since there can be no written contract, the sale of a Sehgal piece must be conducted orally, with a lawyer or a notary public on hand to witness it. The work is described; the right to install it for an unspecified number of times under the supervision of Sehgal or one of his representatives is stipulated; and the price is stated. The buyer agrees to certain restrictions, perhaps the most important being the ban on future documentation, which extends to any subsequent transfers of ownership. “If the work gets resold, it has to be done in the same way it was acquired originally,’ says Jan Mot, who is Sehgal’s dealer in Brussels. ‘If it is not done according to the conditions of the first sale, one could debate whether it was an authentic sale. It’s like making a false Tino Sehgal, if you start making documentation and a certificate.”

Tufte at the Met

One more thing from the Met: if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by for the incredible Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages, on though this Sunday 23 August. And afterward, check out this talk by Edward Tufte about the show, now on the Met’s YouTube channel.

New Museum this weekend

I’ll be speaking on a panel at the New Museum this weekend as part of The Generational, “Younger Than Jesus.” It’s Saturday at 3:00pm and we’d love to see you there (details here). Joining me is n+1 editor Marco Roth and Zizek! filmmaker Astra Taylor (who gave a nice interview to n+1 here). Keeping us on track will be moderator and man-about-town Brian Sholis, who’ll be sure to have some thoughts of his own about generations, the universe, and everything. Brian’s website was redesigned and relaunched recently and is brimming with good ideas and clever turns-of-phrase.

Re/Responsive Eye






Above, top to bottom: James Dunphy’s exhibition graphics were designed to be assembled within the viewer’s eye with optical effects like foreshortening and reflection. Katie Richanbach’s campaign was inspired by the color interaction studies of Josef Albers. Alison Munn’s buttons and posters use optical after-images to reveal branding only after the viewer has passed it by.

Wikipedia reports the following:

In 1965, an exhibition called The Responsive Eye, created by William C. Seitz was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The works shown were wide ranging, encompassing the minimalism of Frank Stella, the smooth plasticity of Alexander Liberman, the collaborative efforts of the Anonima group, alongside the masters of the movement: Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley and the Italian Getulio Alviani. The exhibition focused on the perceptual aspects of art, which result both from the illusion of movement and the interaction of color relationships. The exhibition was enormously popular with the general public, though less so with the critics.

Suppose in honor of the show’s 45th anniversary, MoMA is bringing many of the original works back to the museum and placing them alongside contemporary examples from the worlds of art and design.

On the blog this week, propose several works you think the curators should consider as they make their final selections. In the meantime, design 3 or 4 headline treatments for MoMA’s outdoor advertising and prepare comps showing the headline treatments in place. Along with these treatments, plan to show the process by which you developed this typographic solution, including working drawings, mathematical models, optical distortion effects, etc.

This assignment is from the class Typographic Research.

Posts by Post at the New Museum

I’m excited to announce that my Posts by Post project has been included in the New Museum’s “Live Archive,” a publication room on the fifth floor of the new Generational show, Younger than Jesus, which opened with a spirited gala last week.

I’ll also be taking part in a panel discussion on 13 June as part of the Generational’s event series. Both the event series and the Live Archive are curated by my friend Brian Sholis. The Generational show is already drawing strong reviews, but let me add my own to the mix: I throughly enjoyed last week’s preview, and I’m eager to go back for a closer look. Highlights from the show: Mohamed Bourouissa, Liu Chuang, Haris Epaminonda, Cory Arcangel, Tauba Auerbach, Elad Lassry, and Katerina Seda’s social drawing project with her grandmother (shown on the back wall here). The Live Archive acts as a reading room and timeline of the last few decades, and it’s a great place to sit and browse some great projects published and/or distributed by Golden Age, Ooga Booga, Bökship, Arcangel, and more.


From Alice Twemlow’s great post on Design Observer about the GTF show at the Art Institute of Chicago: “Graphic design has been displayed in museums as art, as cultural or historic artifact and as consumable commodity, but rarely in a way that reflects its full complexity as a functioning entity embedded within systems of use. Here, using the display mechanism of the institutional bulletin board, GTF have presented their work as information.” As a long-time GTF fan, I can’t wait to check out this show when I’m in Chicago in a few weeks.


Kevin tipped me off to MoMA’s great new program that streams their audio guides over their WiFi network for visitors with iPhones or iPod Touches. I was at the museum this weekend checking out a bunch of great shows, and I’m pleased to report it worked like a charm. The clips from the Color Chart exhibition were particularly nice, and MoMA has made them available to non-visitors here.


A huge audio archive of artist talks and special programs at Tate Online.


"You would have to look rather closely to see it. Extremely closely. In fact, someone could set the old logo and the new logo side by side and stare for some time before detecting even the slightest distinction. The folks who led the exhaustive makeover process couldn’t be more pleased." NYT on the ginger redrawing of MoMA’s logo, set in Franklin Gothic No. 2, c. 2003. Shortly thereafter, NYT announced its own redrawing in the form of a slightly tweaked—but subtlely compelling—new Cheltenham. Whose ghost haunts these two typographic facelifts? Morris Fuller Benton, for one. Who else? Matthew Carter, of course. For further reading, try this interview with Carter, which helps connect some more dots between the two.