An Essay on Decay

This article appeared in the first issue of Disegno in 2011. ♦ Earlier this year the mummified body of a Hollywood actress was found in a dilapidated Beverley Hills villa. Yvette Vickers had made a career in the movies by playing pneumatic blonds in b-movies like ‘Attack of the Giant Leaches’ and ‘Attack of the … Continue reading

The Dark Side of the Modern Home

This is an extract of an essay published in Sparke, Massey, Keeble and Martin, eds., Designing the Modern Interior (Berg, 2009) ♦ The modern home is, conventionally, bathed in the light of order. Adolf Loos’s vision of a ‘New Zion’ stripped of its nostalgic ornament; Le Corbusier’s ‘fenêtre en longeur’; and Pierre Koenig’s glass curtain walls … Continue reading

Dan Perjovschi: The Power of the Margins

The international art world ‘discovered’ Dan Perjovschi in 1999 when his drawings were displayed in the Romanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.[1] Under the title ‘rEST’, he covered the floor with cartoons and slogans in thick marker-pen reflecting on life in Eastern-Central Europe since the overthrow of communist rule 10 years earlier. Over time, his … Continue reading

Writing Design: The History of Design Criticism in the UK since the 1960s

This essay appeared in the book published to accompany Communicate! British Independent Graphic Design since the 1960s, an exhibition curated by Rick Poynor at the Barbican Art Gallery in London in 2005. ♦ The history of journalism about graphic design in Britain is, in large part, the history of specialist design journals. Unlike other spheres … Continue reading

Writing about Heroes

This short piece was commissioned in 2011 but not published. It is a set of reflections on how and why the history of graphic design might be written differently. ♦ 1 Should a graphic design history be populated with people or with things? There is a growing library of synthesising accounts and a clutch of biographical … Continue reading

When Work Becomes Play

This review of ‘Bauhaus – Art as Life’ at the Barbican Art Gallery, London (3 May 2012 – 12 August 2012) appeared in Creative Review in June 2012. ♦ Like all museums and galleries, the Barbican Art Gallery is keen to promote its latest show in superlative terms. ‘Bauhaus – Art as Life’ is – … Continue reading

Sounding the Body Electric, Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź – June to August 2012

Agata Pyzik’s review of the show from the August edition of The Wire is here. Polish readers might find these on-line reviews interesting – Gazeta Wyborcza / culture.pl / Obieg / Canti Illuminati / Czas Kultury / Dwu Tygodnik / Ruch Muzyczny There is a transcript of a discussion about the show here. Teresa Gleadowe … Continue reading

Chance Operations – an extract from Dźwięki elektrycznego ciała

This is an extract from Dźwięki elektrycznego ciała, an exhibition catalogue accompanying this show at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Poland. There is a review in Polish here and another from the August edition of The Wire here. ♦ John Cage’s advocacy of indeterminacy and Fluxus’s interests in events were matched by new conceptualizations of … Continue reading