Obsessions

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Marinetti’s Pre-Futurism

"Poesia" magazine is the foreplay before the birth of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's Futurism. Look inside this publication that advocated symbolist and romantic poetry in Italy.

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“Historic” Historic Preservation

I’m a big fan of architectural historic preservation and restoration, and have involved myself and my studio in the saving of three structures that faced imminent destruction. These include railway stations in Skokie, Il, and Scarsdale, NY, as well as our studio’s White Plains, NY, home in the 1926 Bar Building. It’s truly as...

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Oded Ezer, Mad Typographic Scientist

The iconoclastic Israeli graphic designer, typographer and type designer Oded Ezer is in residence on the East Coast for two months, lecturing and teaching a class called “Type Follows Emotion, Personal Typographic Exploration” at Rhode Island School of Design. Perhaps best known for what he calls his “typographic design fiction projects,” including “Typosperma,” which...

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Mad (Magazine) Crazy…

At a time before cable television and the internet, "Mad Magazine" truly ruled and paved the way for "National Lampoon" and Saturday Night Live.

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Happy Birthday To The Cathedral Of Commerce!

As many people do, I’ve often found it necessary to have things framed for display at home and in our studio—a relatively simple process that had always had a satisfying result. One “gallery” I used to take my stuff to also specialized in selling vintage prints of all kinds that they would beautifully frame...

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Ads with Strings Attached

There is a proud history to be told of the “hang-tag,” those printed bits of heavy paper or board attached with string, ribbon, wire or plastic that attaches to the product in some way. Unlike most forms of print ephemera, the hang-tag is a more tactile artifact, usually discarded but, paradoxically, made to last....

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The Cave

My son, NIcolas Heller (a.k.a. Ricky Shabazz) recently directed and edited a short interpretive video about the apartment where I keep benign, volatile and explosive artifacts of design and commercial media that I use in some of my books on politics and counter culture. He writes: Since I was an infant, I have feared...

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Bag Art

The Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry  was founded Ruth and Marvin Sackner in Miami Beach, Florida in 1979, later moving it to Miami, Florida in 2005. Dr. Sachner, a noted pulmonary surgeon, began by collecting Russian Constructivism with his wife, then switched focus to establish a collection of books, critical texts, periodicals,...

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Post-Modern Storybook Illustrations

I consider myself very lucky to have been exposed to children’s books as a kid that were published way before my time—it gave me a wonderful perspective on everything from design and illustration to historical content. A good example is “The Modern Storybook” from the 1930′s. I grew up reading my father’s copy of...