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Heinz Edelmann 1934 - 2009

Posted by Whitmore, July 21, 2009 01:11pm | Post a Comment

Graphic designer Heinz Edelmann, best known for his work as the art director of the classic animated Beatles film Yellow Submarine, has died; he was 75. Edelmann died in a Stuttgart, Germany hospital not far from Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts where he taught design for many years. No cause of death was announced.
 
Heinz Edelmann was born in 1934 in Aussig, Czechoslovakia. He studied at the Duesseldorf Art Academy and upon graduation became a freelance graphic designer. In 1961 Heinz Edelmann began teaching design, illustration and animation design at various art schools in Holland and Germany. As a graphic designer, Edelmann is mostly known for his advertising and poster work, especially for the broadcasting station Westdeutscher Rundfunk and his innovative book cover designs for the publishing house Klett-Cotta, which includes the first German edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings in 1971. Edelmann in 1989 won the competition to design the mascot of Seville's Expo '92 World Fair, beating out two dozen other entries with his illustration of a pudgy bird with a rainbow plume and conical beak named Curro.
 
But his greatest fame stems from his art direction for the 1968 film Yellow Submarine; he also received co-credit for the script. Edelmann was originally hired for only eight weeks to create the design for the film, but wound up working for almost an entire year. Because of the lack of direction, an incomplete screenplay, and the enormous deadline pressure -- the producers reserved the July 17, 1968 date for the debut at The London Pavillion before the production was even finished -- Edelmann took on the long ordeal personally. Sleeping only four hours most every night, he led some 200-plus artists to create a visionary work that would be worthy of the most famous band in the world. Edelmann’s health took a major nosedive; he said it took almost two years to recover from the project. Needless to say, Yellow Submarine left a somewhat sour taste in his mouth. On top of that, Yellow Submarine has sometimes been inaccurately attributed to one of the most famous artist of the era, Peter Max. However Edelmann, along with another of his contemporaries, Milton Glaser, is thought to have pioneered the 1960’s psychedelic style for which Max would later become famous. According to Edelmann and film producer Al Brodax, Max had nothing to do with the production. But other notable illustrators did work on the film including Paul Driessen, Tony Cuthbert, Ron Campbell, and the film’s overall director George Dunning (he also worked on the Beatles cartoon series), who created the "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" sequence.

Vinyl Confidential, 1.1 – the odd order of oblong boxes

Posted by Whitmore, May 26, 2009 08:34pm | Post a Comment

Why the record boxes? Why the art work? Why the hell don’t I write more about dumpster diving? Many questions are piling up here on the ol’ TV tray…
 
The theory goes: Disorder increases with record collecting because we measure collecting in the direction in which disorder increases.
 
Any theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis: you can never prove it, no matter how long you may scream into somebody’s contrarian ear, or pound your fist into a table or a disagreeing face. And no matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time around the result will not contradict your precious little theory. But as philosopher of science Karl Popper has emphasized, a good theory is characterized by the fact that it makes a number of predictions that could in principle be disproved or falsified by observation and survive.
 
For example, each time a new box of records with distinctive artwork is observed to agree with the predictions, like selling quickly, that’s a good thing. The theory, ‘art covered record boxes are cool', not only survived but found revival. Hallelujah and pass the collection plate! Our confidence is increased! But if a new box, covered in great artwork, is put out on the floor yet contains only random, scratched, dusty and chipped records, sprinkled with rat poop, the resulting observations may be a bit negative. We may feel obligated to abandon or modify the theory, even though this collection of records didn’t match the usual criteria. Nevertheless the theory of ‘artwork on record boxes’ is still solid. However, amending our assumptions is not out of the question, especially if we have to deal with irate customers and a significant berating by management. A slight re-adjustment in the theory might conclude that the art work is just the carrot, and yes, you can lead a record geek to water, but without any water in the 45 box to wash down that rat poop stuck in his throat … well, you know … anyway, next time around we should just toss those ruined, scratched records in the dumpster and note; disorder increases because we tend to measure in the direction in which disorder increases.

More Photographs from Helen Levitt

Posted by Whitmore, April 30, 2009 06:54pm | Post a Comment
The legendary street photographer Helen Levitt died earlier this month at the age of 95. Besides being a still photographer, Levitt was also involved in the making of documentary films in the late 1940s as a director, cinematographer and writer. For In the Street (1948) she was assisted by renowned New York writer James Agee and artist Janice Loeb. This silent film documents the grim realities of Harlem street-life in the days after the Second World War. In the Street was selected in 2006 for the National Film Registry list. For The Quiet One (1948), Levitt worked once again with Agee and Loeb; this time she received an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay. The Quiet One is an account of the rehabilitation at the Wiltwyck School of an emotionally disturbed African-American boy. Levitt's photography career would span more than seven decades. Here is more of Helen Levitt's work.

Remembering Photographer Helen Levitt

Posted by Whitmore, April 28, 2009 09:14pm | Post a Comment
Earlier this month the legendary photographer Helen Levitt died at the age of 95. In the 1930’s she pioneered the art of street photography, most often documenting the neighborhoods and the people of her hometown, New York City. Her influence is undeniable. With the help of an inconspicuous Leica camera she captured small, everyday events, exceptional moments and quiet dramas. Someone once noted that Helen Levitt was "the most celebrated and least known photographer of her time." Here is some of her work.

Yoko Ono Unveils New Mural

Posted by Whitmore, April 4, 2009 11:39am | Post a Comment
This past week Yoko Ono unveiled her new mural entitled Promise and plans for it to be auctioned off for the charity Autism Speaks. The installation depicts clouds against a clear blue sky and presently stands in the lobby at the United Nations building in New York.

The 76-year-old Japanese-born artist, musician and widow of John Lennon divided the seven-foot tall mural into 67 jigsaw-like pieces. Each piece will be signed by the artist and is being auctioned at www.charitybuzz.com/yoko; the starting bid for each section is $1,000. The 67 pieces represent the approximately 67 million people who have autism world wide. When the piece was unveiled on Wednesday, two pieces were already missing.

Autism Speaks said this UN event was one of more than 100 that took place in 35 different countries to mark the second annual World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd, one of only three issues recognized by the United Nations with a dedicated day. The other days are for AIDS and diabetes.

Yoko Ono hopes that all 67 pieces will be reunited once a cure for autism is discovered.

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