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Design Curiosities: Vanessa Lam for Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty

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Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty showcases some of Degas’ most experimental and radical works—notably 120 rarely seen monotypes. To accompany the exhibition, Vanessa Lam, senior graphic designer at MoMA, created a custom typeface inspired by a French type specimen from the same period as the work in the show. Simplifying aspects of the typeface that were too decorative, the result is historical for sure but unmistakably contemporary.

Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty will be up at MoMA through July 24.

※ Photographs by Vanessa Lam and Andrew Toth

Curiosities: MOON

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MOON is 1/20 million scale 3D replica four years in the making. It was recently funded on kickstarted and every aspect was thoroughly researched and designed. The globe was created using data from NASA’s lunar reconnaissance orbiter mission, and the setup recreates lunar phases as seen from Earth. You can view the actual lunar phase, manually choose one, or see a complete synodic month in 30 seconds.

Observed: JR au Louvre

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Last week, French street artist JR completed his latest piece at the Musée du Louvre. He is known for his large-scale photographic pastes where the importance and meaning of the work lies in the locale. This particular piece opened with a 24-hour event over the weekend that included workshops, films, and music/visual performances—most notably for me, Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds. From a certain vantage point, the artwork blends the iconic pyramid into the facade of the Pavillon Sully behind it. JR au Louvre will remain on view until June 27th.

Violaine and Jérémy, a Paris based studio, designed and illustrated the poster for the exhibition and daylong event. It’s such a well executed piece, and a work of art in itself. It seems as much care has gone into their online presence, and is a great representation of how designers should be showcasing their work. It has quickly become one of my favorite portfolios.

Curiosities: Photographs of Mount St. Helens Erupting

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On May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens erupted, becoming the first major volcanic eruption in the States since 1915. Keith Stoffel was attending the Yakima Gem and Mineral Show as a representative of the Division of Geology and Earth Resources for the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WA DNR). He and his wife Dorothy charted a plane that day with pilot Bruce Judson, unknowing of what was to come. From their vantage point they watched the volcano erupt, narrowly escaping thanks to the efforts of Judson. They captured a few photographs (including the one above) and Keith later summarized what he saw in a WA DNR paper (PDF):

Within a matter of seconds, perhaps 15 seconds, the whole north side of the summit crater began to move instantaneously. As we were looking directly down on the summit crater, everything north of a line drawn east-west across the northern side of the summit crater began to move as one gigantic mass. The nature of movement was eerie, like nothing we had ever seen before. The entire mass began to ripple and churn up, without moving laterally. Then the entire north side of the summit began sliding to the north along a deep-seated slide plane. I was amazed and excited with the realization that we were watching this landslide of unbelievable proportions slide down the north side of the mountain toward Spirit Lake. We took pictures of this slide sequence occurring, but before we could snap off more than a few pictures, a huge explosion blasted out of the detachment plane. We neither felt nor heard a thing, even though we were just east of the summit at this time. Dorothy saw the southern portion of the summit crater begin to crumble and slide to the north just after the initial explosion.

From our viewpoint, the initial cloud appeared to mushroom laterally to the north and plunge down. Within seconds, the cloud had mushroomed enough to obscure our view. At about this time, the realization of the enormous size of the eruption hit us, and we focused our attention on getting out of there.

They were not the only plane in the sky that day. A private plane flown by a former fighter pilot had been divereted to Seattle with his family, on return from vacation. In no apparent danger, he flew near the eruption and captured these photographs. His Grandson recently shared them (r/pics), but doesn’t have all the details of the day at the present.

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Observed: Eric Lacombe

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Graphic designer and artist Eric Lacombe’s work focuses on the melancholy that goes along with feelings of fear, anxiety and sadness. Something about his style reminds me of Stephen Gammell’s illustrations for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but Lacombe’s work is decidedly different. His portraits are dark and rich, and have depth and feel dimensional. The dour-looking subjects of his latest exhibition, The Weight of Silence, are tormented hybrids and creatures dealing with the, ” indefinable perceptions anticipating death.” It is currently on view at the Last Rites Gallery in NYC until the 16th of April.