• This is a notebook and an archive. I use this blog to sketch thoughts into words and to post articles and reviews already in print which are difficult to source or in translation. If you are interested to look further, you'll mostly find writing on graphic design and/or Eastern Europe here. You'll need to scroll down the page. There are some downloads and links in the menu above.

    - David

    You can email me at david.crowley[at]rca.ac.uk

    Creative Commons License
    All my writing and, where indicated, the images that I have produced are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  • Critical Writing in Art and Design Twitter Stream

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

The Peasant in the City

This piece was written for a Zacheta show, Polska – kraj folkloru? You can download the catalogue in English here. It includes excellent essays by Gabriela Świtek, Błażej Brzostek and the curator, Joanna Kordjak. A Socialist capital – a city for every citizen … the worker, the peasant and the working intelligentsia’ – political slogan Poland, … Continue reading

Notes from the Underground

In September, Daniel Muzyczuk and I curated a show entitled ‘Notes from the Underground’ for the Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz which explores the intersection of art and music in Eastern Europe under communist rule. Rock, punk and new wave were not only embraced by young musicians in the 1970s and 1980s, they shaped the visual … Continue reading

The Poster Remediated – installation shots and press

These installation shots in Poster Museum at Wilanów were provided by Podpunkt, the excellent studio which designed the show and the accompanying book. They were photographed by Michał Drabik. Podpunkt did much more than design the show: they worked closely with me to shape its conceptualisation. Much of the intellectual drive of the show comes from Podpunkt’s design. The … Continue reading

Modernism Redux

In October 1993, Charles Jencks, the leading advocate of architectural postmodernism, was guest of honour at an international conference and exhibition on ‘Post-Modernism and National Cultures’ which was held at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. This event coincided with the Yeltsin coup, which culminated on October 3-4 with the fighting at the Ostankino TV Center, … Continue reading

The Poster Remediated

Extracts from a longer essay exploring the future of the poster which will be published in Warsaw in June 2016   In 1971 the Swiss graphic designer Josef Müller-Brockmann and the artist Shizuko Yoshikawa published a book surveying the history of the poster. Committed modernists, they concluded their catalogue of past designs with some reflections … Continue reading

All Power to the People

This is a draft version of a short essay which will appear in a book accompanying ‘The Sixties: A Worldwide Happening’, an exhibition being organised by the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen in the Netherlands. A new global consciousness infused the political poster in the 1960s. The fight for Civil Rights in the United States, decolonization … Continue reading

The Future is Between Your Legs: Sex, Art and Censorship in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

This is a draft version of a text which will be published by Nottingham Contemporary in 2016.     In spring 1970 a small audience gathered in a church in the Old Town in Zagreb to watch a performance by the poet, actor and artist, Katalin Ladik. Dressed in nothing but a loose fur, Ladik … Continue reading

Hasior’s Dreck

  This essay is a transcript of a talk given in Zakopane in late 2014. It will appear in a book edited by Kola Sliwińska.   Junk and trash seemed to rise to the surface of Polish culture in the mid 1950s. Of course, in the aftermath of the catastrophe of the Second World War, … Continue reading

Every Single Crash – Filip Berendt’s art

This text was written to accompany Filip Berendt’s show at L’étrangère, London in 2015. Working in Taiwan a few years ago, Filip Berendt was struck by the profusion and variety of ordinary materials on sale there. Taipei’s shops offer paper, metal foil, plastics and other other everyday materials in dizzying, even excessive, variety. He was … Continue reading

The Choreography of the Console: The Design of Electronic Environments and their Operators in the Cold War

This talk was given in Zurich at ETH in autumn 2014. In the late 1950 and 1960s a new kind of non-human actor appeared on the movie screens and televisions around the world. The console – an electronic panel or unit operated with dials, switches or buttons – appeared in numerous Cold War thrillers and … Continue reading