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Editor’s Diary

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Are Today’s Bands (or at Least their Artwork Designers) Going Around in Circles?

Are Today’s Bands (or at Least their Artwork Designers) Going Around in Circles?

It’s Sunday morning, I opened my rdio page, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to make an image (above) that I’ve been meaning to make for months. Why is it that so many bands over the past year or so have opted for album covers with big glaring circles in the middle? It’s a pretty established fact that whomever comments first in a list, be it a Facebook post or a hotel or wedding guestbook, will be copied at least a few times before the end of the page, but has endless scrolling taken over LP design in the same way?

That said, while I’m not a fan of any of the above records, some of my favorite records have similar artwork:

Flowers of Hell cover (and animate) Joy Division’s “Atmosphere”

Flowers of Hell cover (and animate) Joy Division’s “Atmosphere”

Honoring—and in homage to—Peter Saville’s legendary artwork for Joy Division’s equally legendary album, Unknown Pleasures, the “trans-Atlantic space rock orchestra” Flowers of Hell have covered “Atmosphere,” and animated a video to accompany it. The track is taken from the collective’s third record, Odes, out now Spectralite.

Saville wrote about his use of negative space in designing the Unknown Pleasures artwork for Issue 1 of Afterzine. Watch the video below.

The Gift of Time exhibition, in conjunction with Hermès

The Gift of Time exhibition, in conjunction with Hermès

I’m thrilled to report that issue 3 of Afterzine has been invited to be featured in The Gift of Time, at The U Café in Singapore, an exhibition produced “in conjunction” with fashion-house (and Afterzine favorite) Hermès. Located in the city’s Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, this “first of its kind café installation” is open now and runs until August 12, 2012. Full details can be found here.

Marsha Cottrell’s Stellar Drawings

Marsha Cottrell’s Stellar Drawings

Brooklyn-based artist Marsha Cottrell works in the same building as me, on the same floor, for the same company. In fact, a couple of years ago (though we don’t work in overlapping departments) I worked at the desk directly adjacent to her. It makes it all the more lovely then—meetings, corporate jargon wading, and deadlines aside—to have taken five and snook a peek at the always-inspiring But Does It Float, admire a collection of breathtaking images, and realize they were iron oxide drawings by Marsha. I urge you to visit Marsha’s site and see the rest of the series. For those of us in New York City these may be the only constellations we’re likely to see but the other stars might be right under your nose.

Above: Impossible Night, 2011, iron oxide on mulberry paper

Essential Reading: David Hockney, New Tendencies and Bit International, and Pâtisseries à Paris

Essential Reading: David Hockney, New Tendencies and Bit International, and Pâtisseries à Paris

Three very different titles this time, but there’s a thread running between them. First up is A Bigger Message, Martin Gayford’s conversations with David Hockney. It’s comfortably the most insightful and inspiring book I’ve read all year. My copy is littered with sticky tabs marking memorable moments or reminders for future research. Hockney looks, sees—sees—then considers. It’s a patient and rewarding exercise, one that is oft overlooked. Seeing, like breathing, might be second nature to us, yet time and again we all need reminding to do it. Seeing is as crucial to Hockney’s survival as breathing. There’s a lot more to be seen that what you’re merely looking at.

MIT Press and the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe’s snappily titled, reflective doorstop A Little-Known Story about a Movement, a Magazine, and the Computer’s Arrival in Art: New Tendencies and Bit International, 1961–1973 is, well, exactly that. Spanning nearly 600 pages with 650 plates, this is the comprehensive documentation of Yugoslavia’s New Tendencies movement during the 1960s, the discovery and practice of “art as visual research,” and the movement’s critical vehicle, bit international magazine. A must for digital historians and Op Art fetishists, it may not make for bedtime reading but as a source of inspiration and learning there is something new to discover in every opening. It really has to be seen to be believed.

Lastly, this installment’s description-not-needed dessert course, if you will, is (the always exceptional) édition PAUMES’s Pâtisseries à Paris. In a (butter glazed) nutshell, paired with PAUME’s wonderful Paris Bouquins, I have the only two guide books I’ll ever need for the City of Light.

Manual Labor

Manual Labor

In the past six months I’ve purchased three books that will serve as manuals for my work over the next year or so. They were also purchased from my three (current) favorite bookstores. Details below.

Maps and Diagrams, by F. J. Monkhouse and H. R. Wilkinson. 1972 edition, published by Methuen & Co’s University Paperbacks imprint in the United Kingdom. Purchased from The Monkey’s Paw, a phenomenal used and collectable book and ephemera store in Toronto, Ontario.

Peacetime Uses of Atomic Energy, by Martin Mann. 1957 first edition, published by the Thomas Crowell Company, New York. Purchased at Alias Books East, in Los Angeles’ Atwater Village. Pro tip: get a breakfast burrito at Tacos Villa Corona a few doors down and then walk it off browsing (and buying) at Alias.

From Bauhaus to Our House, by Tom Wolfe. 1981 second hardback printing, published by Farrar Straus Giroux, New York. Purchased from the best used bookstore in New York City, Mast Books, on Avenue A.

Hermès x Hiroshi Sugimoto

Hermès x Hiroshi Sugimoto

Polaroids go silk. Simply beautiful. See them collection here and find out more about Suimoto’s collaboration here. (And while you’re on the Hermès Editeur site, don’t miss Daniel Buren’s fantastic chevron scarves.)

Léon Gimpel’s Autochromes for Memorial Day

Léon Gimpel’s Autochromes for Memorial Day

Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola’s Moonrise Kingdom is a wonderful, heartbreaking, period adventure-love-story that opens in cinemas this weekend. Aptly, considering the themes of civil unrest and lost love, it’s also Memorial Day weekend, where we remember those who have fallen in the line of duty. La Lettre de la Photographie has posted a handful of beautiful autochrome plates by the Belle Epoque photographer Léon Gimpel depicting a band of child servicemen staging the “iconography of warfare”—images that certainly remind me of Anderson’s signature aesthetic. See them all, here.

The Color Wheel, by Carlen Altman and Alex Ross Perry

The Color Wheel, by Carlen Altman and Alex Ross Perry

Last night Andi and I saw The Color Wheel, a captivatingly stylish and comically unpredictable independent film written by and starring Alex Ross Perry (who also directed, edited, and produced) and our friend Carlen Altman. The film topped IndieWire’s list for best undistributed film of 2011 and I’m happy to say is finally now getting the national exposure it deserves. New Yorkers can see it this weekend and the following week at BAM before the print takes flight to tour the rest of the country. Don’t miss it.

Watch the trailer below …

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