Winsor McCay’s Hippodrome souvenirs


A cover design by the great cartoonist and pioneer animator. Typical of a compulsive fantasist to add a huge dragon head to an otherwise regulation piece of Chinoiserie. No date or any indication as to whether McCay’s work was also featured inside but there’s another design of his for the same establishment here. The latter version could almost be a page from Little Nemo in Slumberland.

Bud Plant’s Winsor McCay page

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Piranesi as designer


Pier table for Cardinal Rezzonico (c. 1768).

This ostentatious object is on display at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in an exhibition devoted to Piranesi’s work as a designer. Piranesi (whose work adorns the current {feuilleton} header) is far more well-known for his Carceri d’Invenzione and Vedute di Roma prints than for his furniture design, of course, so this exhibition addresses a side of the artist/architect which is rarely explored outside the more extensive books about his work. I’d seen this table before in black and white photographs in John Wilton-Ely’s substantial monograph, The Mind and Art of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1978) but those photos don’t fully convey its lavish (some might say gaudy) effect.

The exhibition runs from September 14, 2007–January 20, 2008. From the Cooper-Hewitt site:

This exhibition examines the artist’s role in the reform of architecture and design from the 18th century to the present. This is the first museum exhibition to show Piranesi’s full range and influence as a designer of architecture, elaborate interiors and exquisite furnishings. On view will be etchings, original drawings and prints by Piranesi, as well as a selection of three-dimensional objects. In addition to his better-known architectural projects, Piranesi also designed fantastic chimneypieces, carriage works, furniture, light fixtures and other decorative pieces. The exhibition is co-curated by Dr. Sarah E. Lawrence, director, Master’s Program in the history of decorative arts and design, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, and John Wilton-Ely, professor emeritus, University of Hull.


Diverse Maniere…, Open to Chimneypiece: Griffon Monopods on the Jambs (1769).

The original table design appeared in Diverse Maniere, a collection of prints showing design for clocks, furniture and fireplaces. Many of these are the most bizarre and detailed inventions in Piranesi’s corpus, especially the elaborate Egyptian-themed fireplaces. Very few of these confections were built at all but a number of the prints are in the exhibition and can be seen at its very elegant website.

NYT feature on Piranesi and the Cooper-Hewitt exhibition

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The etching and engraving archive

Aerodynamik by Kraftwerk


1 Aerodynamik (Intelligent Design Mix by Hot Chip) (8:34)
2 La Forme (King Of The Mountains Mix by Hot Chip) (11:31)

This is a curious moment to be releasing a remix single, four years after the last studio album, Tour De France Soundtracks, which is the origin of the music here. But the Düsseldorf boys have always been a law unto themselves and I’m a Kraftwerk obsessive so I won’t complain, especially when any release at all is a significant event.


Tour De France Soundtracks (2003); Aerodynamik single (2004).

An additional attraction for this fan is seeing how the design changes from one release to the next. Kraftwerk control their presentation as carefully as their music and this new design combines the original quartet of cyclists (which date back to the first Tour De France single from 1983) with the fluorescent green that became a feature with Expo 2000. The bikes and riders have now been updated so they look suitably aero-dynamic.

Kraftwerk are notoriously tight-lipped about their activities and since the Eighties have developed a Kubrick-like prevarication towards new projects. A multi-disc retrospective, The Catalogue, was supposed to have appeared in 2004 and came close enough to release for promo editions to go out, only to be cancelled at the last minute. (Those promos now sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay.) The new single may be intended to stimulate interest in something more substantial seeing as we’re entering the prime period for pre-Christmas releases. Fingers crossed.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Street Sounds Electro
White Noise: Electric Storms, Radiophonics and the Delian Mode
The genius of Kraftwerk