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No. 167: A Celebration of Queerness, Political Cartoons, Barbara Kruger NYC MetroCards + More

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Design Diary, a collection of five fab projects from across the world that have impressed us this week. 

For more creative gems along these lines (and so many others) follow along all day, every day on Instagram @AIGAeyeondesignFacebook, and Twitter @AIGAeyeondesign.

1
Blitt, by Barry Blitt

Iconic covers and satirical cartooning from a modern master

Just published by Penguin Random House, a new hardcover tome celebrates the work of Barry Blitt: cartoonist for the likes of The New Yorker, the New York TimesVanity Fair, and more. Blitt is a master of the lampoon: sending up America politics, culture, and life in images that, according to his publisher, earn him “adoration from critics and fans and piles of hate mail from everyone else.”

Don’t be fooled by the whimsical hand drawn serif of the cover: this work bites. As with the best satirists and commentators, Blitt’s work packs the punch, as demonstrated in these works that straddle more than 25 years. Among the works that adorn the pages are depictions that range from “the Obama fist bump heard round the world, to George W. Bush’s drowning cabinet, to the myriad (and counting) misadventures of Donald Trump.”

ABCs of Divorce, from Blitt, by Barry Blitt, cover

2
Barbara Kruger, NYC MetroCards

“Who is healed? Who is housed? Who is silent? Who speaks?”

Art and the underground have long been riotous and well-suited bedfellows, and now the relationships is made all the more literal with Barbara Kruger-designed NYC MetroCards. The artist’s signature white lettering on an angry blood red background is now being used to pose questions to NYC commuters. Each card features a different provocative statement, and 50,000 of them were handed out at four subway stations around the city last Wednesday (November 1).

The cards’ texts echo statements from the artist’s previous works, such as “Who is healed? Who is housed? Who is silent? Who speaks?”, which references her 1991 Untitled, on which stripes of the American flag become such questions.

“These issues of power and control and physical damage and death and predation are ages old,” Kruger told the New York Times. “I wish some of these issues would become archaic.”

The cards were part of Kruger’s wider performative piece commission for Performa 17, the seventh edition of the performance-focused Biennial that runs until 19 November.

3
Fringe! A celebration of queer art and cinema

Fuck the powers that be!

If, like me, you like your cinema queer, powerful, and provocative, look no further than this year’s stellar edition of Fringe!, a queer film and arts festival across east London. Events range from traditional feature length film screenings (among them The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, a heartbreaking doc about the NY trans activist and performer); Swedish “psychosexual fantasy” Who Will Fuck Daddy?, and the UK premiere of My Wonderful West Berlin by Jochen Hick); as well as shorts evenings, panel discussions, and club nights at gender-play mecca The Glory. We’ll see you down there, bellowing along to the classics at A Whitney Wonderland next Friday (November 17).

4
Ze Wang, Cropped Images Book

Is cropping inherently violent?

Ze Wang is a New York-based, China-born designer working across identity, publication, exhibition, website, and video projects. One of his latest explorations has taken the form of a printed book that examines the inherent “violence” in image cropping.

“If we regard cropping as power or violence in image making, what is the most extreme form of this?” he says. “I found photos that I cropped in Photoshop in the past and cropped them in reverse: exposing what had been previously discarded. Each composition became a frame placed within the book.”

Within the publication, the designer hopes these images draw attention “away from the areas where content is traditionally placed,” and “instead make the viewer focus on the margins. The relationship between content and frame is disrupted.”

5
Stefan Marx, Sundaayyyssss

A calendar you can start at any time of year

The great folk of Nieves never let ya down, and here they are again with this totally rad calendar that can “be started any Sundaayyy in the year, every year.” Sundaayyyssss by Stefan Marx started life as an Instagram column “against my aversion for the seventh day of the week,” he says. “These drawings are about Sundaayyy feelings and the immense significance of this day in modern society.”

Marx is a Hamburg-based artist, and also the man behind the T-shirt label The Lousy Livincompany, a platform for his drawings published on T-shirts.

Stefan Marx, Sundaayyyssss

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