From M & Ms to Post–It Notes, a charming and insightful collection of design marvels from everyday life, celebrated by the curator of the MoMA's department of architecture and design.
Every day we use dozens of tiny objects, from Post–It notes to Band–Aids. If they work well, chances are we do not pay them much attention. But although modest in size and price, some of these objects are true masterpieces of the art of design.
Paola Antonelli, curator of the Museum of Modern Art's Department of Design and Architecture, is a highly celebrated figure in the world of design (she was just ranked among the top 100 most powerful people in the world of art). Paola has long been passionate about the subject of everyday objects that are marvels of design. The response to her recent MoMA show, also called Humble Masterpieces, was electric. In addition to lively coverage in dozens of publications, the museum goers spread the word about the fun of learning about and nominating their own picks for humble masterpieces.
Now, in this colorful visual feast, Antonelli chooses 100 fabulous objects, from Chupa Chup lollipops to Legos to Chopsticks and Scotch tape. Each object will be portrayed with a gorgeous close–up detail, a brisk and informative text on its origin and special design features, as well as a silhouette image of the object as we see it each day. Certain to appeal to a broad audience, and to lend itself to fun, creative promotional opportunities, Humble Masterpieces will celebrate the possibility of looking at our everyday lives in an all–new way.
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Paola Antonelli is one of the world's foremost design experts and was recently rated as one of the top one hundred most powerful people in the world of art by Art Review. She is a curator in the Depart-ment of Architecture and Design at The Mu-seum of Modern Art in New York City, where she curated the exhibition "Humble Masterpieces" to great acclaim. Italian, and an architect by training, Antonelli has also curated architecture and design exhibi-tions in Italy, France, and Japan. She has been a contributing editor for Domus magazine and the design editor for Abitare. A lecturer at Har-vard's Graduate School of Design, she is also the author of MoMA's Objects of Design and Safe: Design Takes on Risk. She lives in New York City with her husband.From Publishers Weekly:
Starred Review. It takes seven days to create the flavorful, jewel-like cabochon of candy known as a Jelly Belly, seven months to fashion a worthy champagne cork, and no time at all to become enthralled by the 100 ubiquitous objects portrayed in this book. Antonelli, curator of the Museum of Modern Art's Department of Design and Architecture, imbues the text with reverence and passion befitting these revolutionary objects. Whether elaborating on modern design icons like the Post-it Note and the Chinese Take-out Box, or on designs so ancient their genesis is lost-the boomerang and chopsticks, for example-the author illustrates how each object's design fulfills its promise. The objects showcased here are significant because either their functionality has made them essential to peoples' lives (the safety pin, the condom), or because "like the Slinky or the Rubik's Cube, they have added so much delight to the history of our material culture that they deserve a prominent space in our world." Antonelli focuses on common designs that are used all over the world; consequently, the universality of good design is underscored. The author emphasizes the visceral and tactile qualities that make each object appealing, while the striking close-up photography shows how "their form efficiently describes their function." Antonelli has succeeded in showing how everyday design has both beauty and agency in this visual wonder of a book.
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