Democracy Slam Jam

Smart: Thoughts on Democracy parallels the Wolfsonian-Florida International University’s exhibition Thoughts on Democracy, in which more than 60 artists and designers created original works inspired by Norman Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms” posters, on view in the museum’s lobby through Dec. 7, 2008. “The Thoughts on Democracy exhibition gave rise to the idea of soliciting artists’ quotes on democracy to include on the Smart cars,” says director Cathy Leff.
    The cars say “Democracy: There is no alternative,” from Michael Graves; “Democracy gives us liberty, freedom, and hope,” from Zaha Hadid; and “Freedom is like Zen; it questions everything,” from James Rosenquist (top). Other thoughts are from Enrique Norten, Konstantin Grcic, Ross Lovegrove, the Campana Brothers, and John Baldessari.  
    Smart is just one of the Wolfsonian’s programs held during Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami. There’s also Democrazy by Francesco Vezzoli, an installation inspired by the 2008 U.S. presidential election; a multimedia performance by Elliott Earls inspired by Thoughts on Democracy; and Gridnik: Wim Crouwel and Modern Typography, on view from Dec. 1 to March 10, 2009, in honor of this master typographer’s 80th birthday.
    And that’s not all: On Dec. 6 from noon to 6 PM, the Wolfsonian hosts its first Design Marathon: Five Minutes of Designed Freedom, where 35 artists and designers take the stage for five minutes each to express whatever they like (preferably about democracy). The lovely Debbie Millman moderates the featured guests, including Wim Crouwel, Elliott Earls, Chip Kidd, Richard Tuttle, Lawrence Weiner, William Drenttel, Jessica Helfand, Bobby Martin, Robert Grossman, and more. Admission is free–you can’t get any more democratic than that (or frugal, especially in this economy).

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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