Back to Top
THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from Aug. 28, 2011):The “KM 3” mixer, designed in 1956 by the great Dieter Rams, designer for the German company Braun. It is now on view in a Rams survey that opened yesterday at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. (Click on the image to enlarge it.) Almost all the principles of so-called “contemporary” design – the entire Apple repertoire – were already in place in Rams’s earliest work. (There’s a slide-show of his objects on the Art Beast page at TheDailyBeast.com.) Disclosure: I still own the  KM 3 that my parents bought in the 1960s, to mix food for a family of eight. And I still enjoy using it every time I take it out. How many small appliances have ever provided almost 50 years of function and, more importantly, pleasure?
For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Jul 25, 2014

THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from Aug. 28, 2011):The “KM 3” mixer, designed in 1956 by the great Dieter Rams, designer for the German company Braun. It is now on view in a Rams survey that opened yesterday at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. (Click on the image to enlarge it.) Almost all the principles of so-called “contemporary” design – the entire Apple repertoire – were already in place in Rams’s earliest work. (There’s a slide-show of his objects on the Art Beast page at TheDailyBeast.com.) Disclosure: I still own the  KM 3 that my parents bought in the 1960s, to mix food for a family of eight. And I still enjoy using it every time I take it out. How many small appliances have ever provided almost 50 years of function and, more importantly, pleasure?

For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Posted at 8:59 AM
[Permalink] 6 notes

THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from Jan. 13, 2012): A full wall of dots by Damien Hirst, from the spot-painting extravaganza that is now filling all the world’s Gagosian galleries. (And that the Daily Pic can’t seem to shake free of.) Of the project’s 331 spotted canvases, the only ones that fail, as art, are the ones that could count as “successful” abstract paintings. The whole glory of Hirst’s project, it seems to me, is that it blows-off stale, Old Masterish notions of fine-art connoisseurship. Hirst drowns the connoisseurial eye in a sea of spots whose colors have been chosen arbitrarily, and so can’t be any more significant, artistically speaking, than the random colors floating on an oil slick. When Hirst’s spot paintings look good, it’s an accident that needs to be ignored. By refusing to let us fall back on easy aesthetic judgments, picture by picture, Hirst forces us to work at what his flood of picture-making might mean, as a whole. Hirst’s dots don’t provide the quick read, as eye candy, that gets some critics to dismiss them. I’d say the project demands the kind of  slow, attentive thought you give to the complexities of a great Cezanne or Picasso. (For more of my posts on Hirst’s dots go here and here and here.)

(Photo by Timothy A. Clary, AFP / Getty Images)
For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Jul 24, 2014

THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from Jan. 13, 2012): A full wall of dots by Damien Hirst, from the spot-painting extravaganza that is now filling all the world’s Gagosian galleries. (And that the Daily Pic can’t seem to shake free of.) Of the project’s 331 spotted canvases, the only ones that fail, as art, are the ones that could count as “successful” abstract paintings. The whole glory of Hirst’s project, it seems to me, is that it blows-off stale, Old Masterish notions of fine-art connoisseurship. Hirst drowns the connoisseurial eye in a sea of spots whose colors have been chosen arbitrarily, and so can’t be any more significant, artistically speaking, than the random colors floating on an oil slick. When Hirst’s spot paintings look good, it’s an accident that needs to be ignored. By refusing to let us fall back on easy aesthetic judgments, picture by picture, Hirst forces us to work at what his flood of picture-making might mean, as a whole. Hirst’s dots don’t provide the quick read, as eye candy, that gets some critics to dismiss them. I’d say the project demands the kind of  slow, attentive thought you give to the complexities of a great Cezanne or Picasso. (For more of my posts on Hirst’s dots go here and here and here.)

(Photo by Timothy A. Clary, AFP / Getty Images)

For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Posted at 11:56 AM
[Permalink] 10 notes

THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from July 13, 2012): A severed ram’s head, a rope of liver and lungs above it and to both sides some gorgeous fruits and vegetables – if still-life painting can sometimes seem convention-bound, this one seems to have more to it. It was painted in 1652, in Florence, when the Dutch painter Willem van Aelst was there serving the Medici court, and it’s now in the solo show of his works (the first ever) at the National Gallery in Washington. The ram’s head is such a strong symbol of the classical world that I’d want to make it central in any reading of this painting. The still-life seems to me to involve some kind of confrontation between the scientific, botanical and anatomical interests of the Medici court – to wit the accurately rendered organs and fruit – and the Roman practice of reading the future in entrails. (The term of art for reading a liver is haruspicy or hepatoscopy; the practice is mentioned in Virgil and Cicero and Pliny. The gallery reads the offal as belonging to a turkey, but I’ve done enough butchering to recognize the lungs and liver of something much bigger – such as the classic sacrificial ram.) Could van Aelst’s picture be about science superseding or completing ancient ways of knowing?I particularly like how such a complex reading mirrors the divination referenced in the work.For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Jul 23, 2014


THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from July 13, 2012): A severed ram’s head, a rope of liver and lungs above it and to both sides some gorgeous fruits and vegetables – if still-life painting can sometimes seem convention-bound, this one seems to have more to it. It was painted in 1652, in Florence, when the Dutch painter Willem van Aelst was there serving the Medici court, and it’s now in the solo show of his works (the first ever) at the National Gallery in Washington. The ram’s head is such a strong symbol of the classical world that I’d want to make it central in any reading of this painting. The still-life seems to me to involve some kind of confrontation between the scientific, botanical and anatomical interests of the Medici court – to wit the accurately rendered organs and fruit – and the Roman practice of reading the future in entrails. (The term of art for reading a liver is haruspicy or hepatoscopy; the practice is mentioned in Virgil and Cicero and Pliny. The gallery reads the offal as belonging to a turkey, but I’ve done enough butchering to recognize the lungs and liver of something much bigger – such as the classic sacrificial ram.) Could van Aelst’s picture be about science superseding or completing ancient ways of knowing?

I particularly like how such a complex reading mirrors the divination referenced in the work.

For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.


THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from Nov 1, 2013): Today’s image, appropriately, shows “Miss November, 1954”, whose image starred in a recent lecture at the Artist’s Institute by the great architectural historian Beatriz Colomina. Colomina presented research by her team at Princeton showing how, throughout the 1950s and 60s, Playboy magazine was a crucial promoter of modern design. It published features on cutting-edge architects and designers and often posed playmates in their classic pieces – as here, where model Diane Hunter sits in a butterfly chair by Jorge Ferrari Hardoy. Colomina didn’t mention it, but it seems to me there’s some kind of equation, both social and formal, between the pared-down chairs and the girls perched on them – something about men’s ownership of biomorphic (and biological) modernity. (Interesting that the bodies now look vintage but the chairs haven’t dated at all.) Colomina did show how Playboy, with its circulation of seven million, would have had vastly more reach and influence than any design magazine. Any architect featured in Playboy – Mies and Wright and Bucky Fuller, but also the radicals at Ant Farm and Yale’s dean of architecture  – “becomes a model poised at the very heart of the Playboy dream,” said Colomina. Strangely, from his very first editorial Heffner felt a need to apologize for keeping his readers inside the well-designed home, and away from the woods and wilds found in other men’s magazines. Colomina argues that this is because home decor was traditionally women’s territory, and a  manly man wouldn’t go there. Rather than pretending to buy the mag for the writing and really ogling the girls, which was the classic Playboy-reader excuse, many playboys were pretending to buy for the babes, while actually hunting for decorator tips. “Architecture turned out to be much more seductive than the Playmates,” Colomina said.
For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Jul 22, 2014

THE DAILY PIC (Vacation rerun, from Nov 1, 2013): Today’s image, appropriately, shows “Miss November, 1954”, whose image starred in a recent lecture at the Artist’s Institute by the great architectural historian Beatriz Colomina. Colomina presented research by her team at Princeton showing how, throughout the 1950s and 60s, Playboy magazine was a crucial promoter of modern design. It published features on cutting-edge architects and designers and often posed playmates in their classic pieces – as here, where model Diane Hunter sits in a butterfly chair by Jorge Ferrari Hardoy. Colomina didn’t mention it, but it seems to me there’s some kind of equation, both social and formal, between the pared-down chairs and the girls perched on them – something about men’s ownership of biomorphic (and biological) modernity. (Interesting that the bodies now look vintage but the chairs haven’t dated at all.) Colomina did show how Playboy, with its circulation of seven million, would have had vastly more reach and influence than any design magazine. Any architect featured in Playboy – Mies and Wright and Bucky Fuller, but also the radicals at Ant Farm and Yale’s dean of architecture  – “becomes a model poised at the very heart of the Playboy dream,” said Colomina. Strangely, from his very first editorial Heffner felt a need to apologize for keeping his readers inside the well-designed home, and away from the woods and wilds found in other men’s magazines. Colomina argues that this is because home decor was traditionally women’s territory, and a  manly man wouldn’t go there. Rather than pretending to buy the mag for the writing and really ogling the girls, which was the classic Playboy-reader excuse, many playboys were pretending to buy for the babes, while actually hunting for decorator tips. “Architecture turned out to be much more seductive than the Playmates,” Colomina said.

For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

THEME BY PARTI