The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

November 27, 2016
by Dan
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Robert Rauschenberg and the Subversive Language of Junk

With a major Robert Rauschenberg retrospective opening at Tate Modern in December, Alex Needham, writing for The Guardian, visits the late artist’s island home of Captiva, Florida: Rauschenberg started visiting in 1962, before moving to Captiva nine years later, describing it as “the foundation of … Continue reading

May 2, 2016
by Dan
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Willem Sandberg: From Type to Image

Writing for The Guardian, Simon Garfield (Just My Type), visits the first UK retrospective Dutch designer and curator Willem Sandberg: “This is printed on wallpaper, very asymmetric … an amazing thing really,” Fraser Muggeridge, the curator, says as he shows me his collection of … Continue reading

November 17, 2015
by Dan
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Robert Hughes on Robert Rauschenberg

The New York Review Books has an excerpt from the late Robert Hughes’s unfinished memoir — to be published for the first time this month by Knopf in The Spectacle of Skill: Selected Writings of Robert Hughes — on artist Robert Rauschenberg: Rauschenberg’s references … Continue reading

May 2, 2015
by Dan
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Samplerman

Thanks to David Gee (and others), who alerted me to the extraordinary Samplerman comics this week. You can read an interview from earlier this year with Yvan Guillo, the French cartoonist and designer behind Samplerman, at It’s Nice That: I’ve … Continue reading

November 19, 2014
by Dan
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The Great Discontent: John Gall

Just fantastic interview with book designer and art director John Gall at The Great Discontent: I find it hard to think about design in terms of changing the world, but it’s important to think about design in terms of the decisions … Continue reading

October 24, 2014
by Dan
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Penguin Modern Classics The Cut-Up Trilogy by William Burroughs

Following on from yesterday’s post on Penguin’s pocket hardback classics, Penguin Modern Classics are also reissuing William Burroughs’ cut-up trilogy with menacingly dark collage cover art by Julian House:

February 13, 2013
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Tell Me a Story From Before I Can Remember — A silkscreen poster of an ideal bookshelf of 100 books designed by Athens-based design studio KEIK Bureau. Going Back to Bed — Jonathan Jones on the art of Robert Rauschenberg, for The Guardian: … Continue reading

January 18, 2013
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Rubbish — Rachel Cooke on the artist Kurt Schwitters at The Guardian: Merz doesn’t mean anything: it is a nonsense word (it comes from Commerzbank, an ad for which appears in one of his earliest collages). But after 1918 everything Schwitters … Continue reading

January 11, 2013
by Dan
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TateShots: Kurt Schwitters ‘Merz Barn’

I didn’t know that influential German artist Kurt Schwitters spent the last years of his life in exile in England’s Lake District creating something called the ‘Merz Barn’. Did you? Schwitters started constructing the original ‘Merzbau’ (pictured above) inside his Hannover studio … Continue reading

June 26, 2012
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

An interview with award-winning Toronto-based illustrator Gary Taxali at GrainEdit. How Disappointing — Book designer Peter Mendelsund on what we picture in our minds when we read literary works: “Call me Ishmael.” What happens when you read this line? You … Continue reading

November 16, 2011
by Dan
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Artists as Activists | WNYC

Shepard Fairey and Christy Maclear, executive director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, discuss Occupy Wall Street and the work of the late Robert Rauschenberg with Brian Lehrer on WNYC:

October 6, 2011
by Dan
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All That Remains

From its abstract roots in Cubism to the political and counter culture movements of Dada and Punk, collage has always been a product of its environment. With the rise of 24 hour media cycles, social networks and search engines, contemporary … Continue reading

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