Caught the last day of the creepsily magical Charles Burchfield exhibit at The Whitney Museum in NYC. Below are some of the artist’s watercolor paintings and wallpaper designs from the 1920′s.
The amazing Karli Hendrickson sent us these vintage wallpaper samples from the book “Off the Wall” from the section titled “On the Go: By Land, Sea, Air and… Into the Wild Blue Yonder”. These papers from the 40′s-60′s, depict the many achievements in modern transportation of that time. These vehicular motifs were commonly used in men’s studies and young boys’ bedrooms.
Intern at Large Karli Hendrickson just wrote me about a fantastic book she’s reading: “Off the Wall, Wonderful Wall Coverings of the Twentieth Century” by Lena Lencek and Gideon Bosker. In the second section of this book “Circles and Squares- Geometrics, Abstracts, Op Art, Minimalist Art” the book explains that geometric motifs were typical of the 1950′s. Post World War II, low-cost screen printing inspired the production of more experimental and avant-garde patterns. Also during this time, an upwelling of ranch homes in the growing suburbs inspired the wallpaper industry to create bold patterns wallpaper to accent and jazz up the simple, open, and modern design of these ranch houses. Textile designs at this time were also very bold and featured prisms, grids, doodles, and loops of geometric inspired design.
This past weekend I stopped into Just Scandinavian, a design shop in TriBeCa, and I have been thinking about designer Joseph Frank ever since. His wallpaper, textile, and furniture designs all exude the simplicity and vibrancy associated with Scandinavian design, but they also have a fanciful quality that is uniquely his own. I love how it all looks so colorful and bold while still being refined and tasteful. The shop keeper at Just Scandinavian described Frank as the “Swedish William Morris,” as both designers shared a passion for pattern and nature, and both came to define their respective national aesthetics. I told her that walking into the store, I felt like I died and went to color heaven.
Check out Just Scandinavian- they have an online shop and sell home goods by Frank and other amazing designers!
I’m a huge fan of Kehinde Wiley- especially the way he uses color and pattern to activate his canvas. Cavern Intern-at-Large Karli Hendrickson just told me about another artist, Barkley Hendricks, who was born in 1948 and was a predecessor of Wiley. Best known for his 1960′s and 1970′s portraits of people in urban American, Hendricks clearly shows a flair for pattern repeats. Read more about him and his exhibition at the Studio Museum here.
Thanks for the heads up, Karli!
Shepard Fairey just put his mark on the wall Keith Haring made famous, on Houston and Bowery. Like Haring, Fairey covers surfaces with his signature style and activates spaces that were previously neutral, unnoticed, or forgotten. But unlike Haring, Fairey’s work draws direct inspiration from traditional wallpaper– his oft used, repeating floral pattern looks like it came right out of a baroque living room. By conjuring wallpaper right beside images that evoke posters, newspapers, stickers, and flags, Fairey creates the illusion of paper layers and toys with the idea of surface itself.
To me, Fairey’s mural on Houston highlights the perhaps obvious but nonetheless dramatic transformation that has happened to New York since Haring painted his mural on the same spot in 1982. “The corner of Houston and Bowery was a desolate area to begin with,” Haring once recalled, “so we decided that we didn’t have to ask permission. We thought that if we cleaned up the garbage then no one was going to ask us whether we had permission to paint it.” How times have changed!
[Images from Tom Slaughter]