Lunar New Year ceramics and 80s hip-hop flyers

Photo: standard issue, collection of El Museo del Barrio, New York. Gift from El Foco, Inc., @studiomisch/Mischelle Moy, Courtesy of New York City Photographer/Museum

Every few weeks I will collect and share the objects, designers, news and events worth knowing about.

This hand-painted screen print of Charlie Ahearn is printed by Gary Lichtenstein Editions, featuring flyers from Pete Nice, Sureshot LaRock, DJ Ross, Paradise Gray and the Cornell Hip Hop Collection.
Photo: Collection of Charlie Ahearn

There is an extensive exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York on the music scene in the 1980s, a time when it seemed like every artist was eager to make something new and hungry to see and hear what everyone was up to. Sean Corcoran, the show’s curator, describes the time as “an era of creativity and genre-defying performance that, in my opinion, stands as one of the most influential in music and cultural history.” Movies like wild style and the music video for “Rapture” gave me a glimpse of how electric the city’s music scene was before Koch turned to nightlife and redeveloped iconic locations. The exhibit attempts to recreate that energy by focusing on a handful of shows at venues like CBGB, Danceteria, and the Mudd Club. But the piece that stuck with me the most was a 1980 screen-printed painting by wild style director Charlie Ahearn of hip-hop artist Dot-A-Rock and his flyer collection. Seeing who performed with whom, in which locations, and all the hand-drawn lettering and illustrations summed up the energy of that time. Until June 2022.

Last spring, the designers at Standard Issue, a Gowanus-based consultancy, began photographing the open restaurants they’ve checked out in their neighborhood. They didn’t know what to do with all the photos as they took them, but now they can be found in Al Fresco: Resilience in New York City, the first streeteries book to land on my desk. It is a pleasure to browse. The book captures a very specific moment in early street design, after ad hoc structures survived their first winter and before some of the more elaborate architecture began to emerge. “A friend called the barns contemporary urban folk art,” said Michael McGinn, partner at Standard Issue. “We’d like to think our little snapshot of the New York City sheds tells that story.” The studio initially sent the book to friends and clients, but it plans to get a second printing because so many people have requested copies. They are not for sale yet, but if you are interested in them in the future, please send a message to info@standardissuedesign.com.

Photos: collection of El Museo del Barrio, New York. Gift from En Foco Inc..

Photos: collection of El Museo del Barrio, New York. Gift from En Foco Inc..

There are still a few weeks to see En Foco: The New York Puerto Rican Experience, 1973-1974. Charles Biasiny-Rivera, Roger Cabán and Felipe Dante, the founding members of the Bronx collective En Foco, created this collection of 79 images to ensure everyday life in Puerto Rico is depicted in fine art photography. According to Biasiny-Rivera, En Foco created the collection as a correction for early 20th-century fine-art documentary photography that “visually whitewashed an entire society”. The images show small business owners holding court in their lunchrooms and barber shops, smiling migrant farm workers holding huge heads of freshly picked cauliflower, and sharply dressed students in a public school cafeteria. One of the images that has stuck with me was the 1974 photo of Biasiny-Rivera, taken during a protest at PS 188 in response to the school board’s removal of two fellow principals: a woman sits and rests her hand on her chin – just like Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother – while with a protest sign against racism in the school system. It’s a scene that could have happened today. The photographers donated the 79 images to El Museo, which exhibited them in 1979. It is the first time that the entire collection has been shown since then. Until February 27.

Photos: @ studiomisch / Mischelle Moy.

Photos: @ studiomisch / Mischelle Moy.

The oldest store in Chinatown has a constantly exciting contemporary art program led by the fifth-generation owner Mei Lum. Next week, Wing On Wo & Co. will launch. a new series of artist collaborations with WOW’s creative team around the Lunar New Year. These bundles — which will be rolled out over the next month — include a set of bok choy bowls; a Tiffany Saw cerulean tray for sharing candies and treats representing abundance; and a gourd-shaped wine from Saw and Tomie Arai in front of an altar that comes with gourd-shaped candles and a clementine. These sets beautifully demonstrate how to update traditional sacred objects and rituals with a modern perspective.

Photos: MoMA Design Store.

Photos: MoMA Design Store.

With flurona spreading across the country, entertaining at home seems like the only responsible way to see friends. So I’m thinking of upgrading my tableware to make sharing a meal a little more special. I took a look at these 80s Bodum glasses that MoMA Design Store has reissued for its fall-winter collection. Since the pandemic started, the team has relied more on searching the archives as it has been difficult to attend trade shows to buy new products. Annie Auchincloss, one of MoMA Store’s buyers, got her hands on some old Bodum catalogs showing these thick, geometric glasses and teamed up with the brand to bring them back. The tumblers, martini glasses and champagne flutes are dead rings for the original 1983 products – same colors, same shapes – but are made from recycled plastic.

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