Friday, March 16, 2018

The 2018 Home and Housewares Show

I really enjoyed this year's Home and Housewares Show. It was nice to see some of my favorite manufacturers there, like Flash Furniture, which has a lot of new chairs and dining tables to choose from. And of course I enjoy sampling the food in the Dine + Decor pavilion. I even had a chance to get a pancake portrait made by one of the chefs demonstrating Whiskware's new BlenderBottle. 

Meeting famous designers is always one of my favorite things to do at trade shows, and this year I got to meet Jackie Shapiro, the designer behind my beloved French Bull products. She took the time to personally give me a tour of their booth and showed me all their new things, which look even more beautiful in person.

In keeping with the color of the year, Le Creuset introduced its Provence line.

It was also exciting to see the limited edition appliances Dolce and Gabbana designed for Smeg.

As far as creative booth designs, my favorite was Wilton's giant cake.

It looked like it could have been prepared with this larger than life KitchenAid mixer.

It was also cool to see every color of mixer in one place.

Walking around so much was exhausting. The most comfortable place to sit was on this sectional from Big Joe, known for their bean bag chairs. It's upholstered with Sunbrella so it can go outside, but I could definitely use it for a casual indoor project.

Here are some other products that caught my eye.

Fair trade home decor by Ugandan artisans from Kazi Goods

Iridescent rainbow goods by Design Ideas 
Silicone and sequin trivets from Aprons by Jem 

Sparkling tableware from Sparkles Home 

Exquisite serving pieces from Solia's Design for Cook line. 

Chemistry lab inspired barware from Periodic Tableware

Since I had time this year, I was able to attend two seminars about color from Pantone color guru Lee Eiseman. She talked about how they arrived at the decision to choose Ultraviolet as the 2018 color of the year.

They felt it captured the zeitgeist of the year because of its complexity and mystery and because it pushes boundaries and is mystical and spiritual and evocative of mindfulness. It was fascinating to learn about her process. She looks at how color is used in a wide array of fields: floral design, art, interior design, automotive design, culinary arts, stage lighting, fashion, and film. She also taught a second seminar about the updated guidelines for color harmony, rethinking some of the things many of us were taught in art and design classes. I really enjoyed seeing the vignettes set up with the Pantone palettes of the year in housewares.

As always, it was inspiring and informative and satisfies my design cravings until NeoCon in June.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Howardena Pindell at the MCA

The first time I saw Howardena Pindell's work, I was at the 2013 Expo Chicago show. I liked her piece so much that I decided to take a picture of it and include in my post about the show. Even then, without knowing much about the artist or her work, I felt a sort of kinship with her because her style reminded me of my style. So when I found out that she was having a solo exhibition at the MCA, I was really excited. And when I heard she would be giving a talk the Saturday before the show, I knew I had to go.

I wish this picture had turned out better. The artist is seated in the center.

It was so inspiring to hear her speak. She talked about how she could not find a teaching position after getting her MFA and took a position at MOMA. There were numerous benefits to working there, such as being able to go into the galleries when the museum was closed to the public, and having the opportunity to meet artists. Unfortunately, there was one huge drawback: the racism of the art world. However, she was able to use this non-inclusion to her advantage, as not being invited to functions after work meant that she had more time to paint. 

She spoke about her influences, including Josef Albers and Eva Hesse. She also talked about her process, and how she moved away from figurative work to an abstract style that utilized circles, both drawn and painted and punched out with hole punches from Woolworth's at first. To protect her eyes from the strain, she put a television in her studio to look at intermittently. And that led her to create a series of drawings inspired by the movement of images on the screen. 

1979 marked a turning point in her work after a head injury she suffered during a bad car accident led to memory impairment. She decided to make more autobiographical work. She used her work to directly address social issues that concerned her, from the AIDS crisis of the 1980s to the numerous injustices of racism, including in the art world itself. She cautioned the audience that creating art to address social issues has a limited impact.

I was so glad that I got to see her work today at the MCA.

Besides the art, another feature of this show that I really love is section about the year I was born, 1979.

I never thought of it as a significant year in history but I appreciate the time the curators took to highlight the events and pop culture of the time. They are even having a talk at the MCA about what a radical year it was so I guess I was wrong.

The show continues through May 20th and I would definitely recommend it if you like abstract art or if the year 1979 means anything to you.
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