Friday, December 18, 2009

In an Instant


Polaroid SX-70 Promotional Film by Charles and Ray Eames

Image of the Day

. Gregory Blackstock The Great World Crows - Common, 2009 (marker on paper, 24 x 49), $4400. On view now at Garde Rail's online gallery – click here for detail shots and more images.

The Foundries

.Those last two aren't foundries per se, I just like the names. I'm guessing that Concrete Conduit has something to do with water from the North Cascades... I don't know.

Your Weekly Mr. Littlejeans

Bronx cheer

You Have A Choice


Sunny Bono's highly convincing screed against the pot will be shown along with other old PSAs, advertisements, trailers, educational films, science films, space films, and other shorts in Vermillion's Dinner & A Movie event this coming Sunday night. The dinner: Andre Hopper, chef at Black Bottle, is preparing a whole country-cured ham from Bob's Quality Meats in Columbia City, along with mixed greens tossed in a berry vinaigrette with wine poached pears and candied walnuts, roasted garlic soup, and braised winter greens from Full Circle Farm. God dammit that sounds delicious – and the whole thing is only $20 per person. Kind of makes you wonder if Vermillion is smoking the pot.

7pm Sunday night at Vermillion. Tempting. Very. Tempting.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

World Wide Weird

Choice selections from Abe Books' weird book room –
here for more.

Image of the Day

Kyle Johnson's photo of Whidbey Island-based author Pete Dexter, from the current issue of Vice magazine. See more of Kyle's work, and that of fellow NW photographers Christine Hahn, Aya Sato, April Brimer, and Andrew Waits tonight at the opening of a new pop-up gallery show at The Winner's Circle.

7pm, Olive between Bellevue & Melrose.
Details and more info

Rumble in the Jungle

Oscar Niemeyer’s National Museum in Brasília, by Brooke Hodge/NYT

Architect Oscar Niemeyer celebrated a birthday this week, and here's what he had to say about it:
"Turning 102 is crap, and there is nothing to commemorate."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Tom Ford was on Fresh Air the other day discussing his new movie, A Single Man, with Terry Gross. He has some interesting things to say about fashion and creative direction as well, not suprisingly – click here to check it out.

Tom Ford (photo by Richard Avedon)

Above and below (in no particular order) are some spreads from the excellent book that Rizzoli published several years ago chronicling Ford's time at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, including (after the jump) some of the more provocative images discussed in the Fresh Air interview.

Book Mountain

. Peter Aaron in the new Elliott Bay Book Company. Photo by Kelly O

The Stranger just posted an article and work-in-progress photos on Elliott Bay Book Company's forthcoming move, from its long-time home in Pioneer Square up to 10th Avenue between Pike and Pine on Capitol Hill. That's right around the corner from my office! It's a bummer that Elliott Bay is moving, but it is the opposite of a-bummer that Elliott Bay will be right around the corner from my office!

here to check it out.

Image of the Day

The I.D. has some of the best old signage of any neighborhood in Seattle...I'm gonna make a day of walking around and snapping pics some time soon. By the way, you have to call it the I.D. because "The International District" is a ridiculous thing to call a neighborhood. Many districts are "international." They don't call Queens the International District, even though it's the most diverse county in the world, it's just Queens.

As Little Design As Possible


Dieter Rams in conversation with Deyan Sudjic (be sure to stick around and check out the portable record player). London's Design Museum is exhibiting a selection of Rams' work for Braun and Vitsœ through March 17, 2010.

When I was about, I don't know, 12-years-old, I got this Braun alarm clock.

Instead of hitting a snooze button, you yell at the little speaker/microphone – 'shut it' or whatever you want to say – and it snoozes for 7 minutes. Then it goes off again and you get up and do your paper route. Sadly the arms have somehow warped a little bit (would have been nicer if they were metal...) so it doesn't work anymore, but I can't bring myself to get rid of it. Eh.

Dieter Rams' Ten Principles of good design:

1. Good design is innovative.

2. Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
4. Good design makes a product understandable.

5. Good design is unobtrusive.

6. Good design is honest.
7. Good design is long-lasting.

8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail.

9. Good design is environmentally friendly.

10. Good design is as little design as possible.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Records I Own Only For the Cover

Possibly a new series on the PS...

...a series which naturally must begin with Whipped Cream & Other Delights. Now that Herb is out of the way:

Pictures from Home

Photographer Larry Sultan, who broke out in 1977 with the book Evidence – a collaboration with Mike Mandel collecting odd photographs from government and corporate archives – died of cancer last weekend at the age of 63.

Larry Sultan Mom Posing for me and Dad watching TV, 1984

In later years Sultan published Pictures from Home – a book of photos of his parents – and The Valley, a series depicting homes in Southern California which had been rented for use as XXX film sets.

Larry Sultan Boxers, Mission Hills, 2000,
from the series
The Valley

A few years ago, Sultan shot a campaign for Bottega Veneta with art direction influenced (I would guess) by The Valley and Pictures from Home, somewhat steered toward the clean angularity of Julius Shulman.

Quite a career, that guy – read Randy Kennedy's obituary in yesterday's New York Times. View images from and order the books Evidence and The Valley here and here. Pictures from Home requires a search and some spare change – I recommend checking

Update: This week Fresh Air re-played an interview with Sultan from 1989, when he was working on Pictures from Home – click here to listen.

Image of the Day

The cover of an advertising brochure for the Nederlandsche Huistelefoon* Company – from a slideshow of graphic works by Dutch designer Piet Zwart (1885-1977) on Design Observer (by way of rare book dealer Ars Libri Ltd). This early Bauhaus/Constructivist/de Stijl-influenced stuff is still the most classic graphic design to me, or at least I think that most good graphic design comes from an extension of this early modern point of view.

Click here for more Piet Zwart.

*huistelefoon = home telephone

Monday, December 14, 2009

Image of the Day

The cover of Past Lives' forthcoming album Tapestry of Webs, produced and engineered by Steve Fisk, and available February 23, 2010 on CD and vinyl from Suicide Squeeze Records. (I did the graphic design, which incorporates paintings by Portland-based artist Ryan Iverson.) Tapestry of Webs is the follow-up to Past Lives' EP Strange Symmetry. Get more info here and here, and at Suicide Squeeze.

You can download a song from the album, "Hex Takes Hold," at Pitchfork.


Whiting Tennis Blue Tarp, 2007
(Acrylic and paper collage on canvas; 12 x 8 feet).

I saw some really good gallery shows on Saturday, some of which I'll post about in the next couple days, but one that really grabbed me was Weekender: A Short Presentation of Recent Work by Whiting Tennis, at Greg Kucera. The show seems to be over now (?), but some of the work is still on view. [The piece shown above was purchased a few years ago by the Tacoma Art Museum, so you can see it there.]

Whiting Tennis White Mountain, 2007
(Acrylic and collage on canvas, 3 x 4 feet)

A lot has been written and discussed about Whiting Tennis – I hadn't spent much time with his work until Saturday, but he is quite well-known – so I won't go on here, other than to say that the beautiful textures he creates (perceived and real) are extremely detailed and interesting to see up close.

Whiting Tennis Blue Tarp (detail)

His paintings feel like the Northwest to me; I think if I saw his work in a gallery somewhere else it would remind me of home. You can see more at

Update: I just listened to Jen Graves' Stranger podcast interview of Whiting Tennis again (I hadn't listened since it first went up in 2007) and it's really interesting – I like the way he discusses the process of getting into the Blue Tarp painting, and a lot of his thoughts about moving back to Seattle after ten years in New York echo thoughts I've had over the past year since our move. Click here to check it out. Those podcasts are a great resource for learning about art in Seattle.