In his 40-year career, the pioneering fashion designer Geoffrey Beene developed a stunning body of work that combined structural and formal innovation with a uniquely American sense of play. Designed by Abbott Miller, Geoffrey Beene: Trapeze is a new exhibition at the Phoenix Museum of Art that presents the designer’s groundbreaking work in a display of over 30 garments from the private collection of Patsy Tarr, who was one of his most avid collectors and champions. Tarr is also Miller’s longtime collaborator on the performing arts journal 2wice, which she publishes. Completing the circle, Miller himself worked closely with Beene over the course of a twelve-year friendship.
Their collaborations included a major retrospective, a monograph of his work and a tribute published by 2wice after his death. For several years Miller also designed publications, graphics and environments for Mr. Beene’s seasonal presentations, which were part exhibition and part theater. The Phoenix exhibition remains on view through March 7, 2010.
A look at Trapeze after the jump.
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Quick Link: Cooper Union Signage on the SEGD Blog
This fall the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art opened its new academic building on its Cooper Square campus in New York’s East Village. Designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis, the building has quickly become one of the city’s new landmarks. Abbott Miller has designed a unique program of signage and environmental graphics for the building that is fully integrated with the building’s dynamic architecture.
Miller is a Cooper alumnus—this year he received the school’s prestigious Augustus Saint-Gaudens Award—and he knew the campus well. The new academic building, located at 41 Cooper Square, sits directly across Third Avenue from the Cooper Union’s original 1859 building, called the Foundation building. Like Mayne’s architectural design, Miller’s graphics for the new building establish a dialogue with the older structure.
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Quick Link: Litl on the Fast Company Blog
Litl is an innovative new web computer, or webbook, that marries the communication functions of a laptop and TV. Small, portable, and equally at home on a kitchen countertop or a living-room coffee table, the webbook is designed for families with multiple users who like to keep in touch and socialize. Litl is always connected to the web (with access to Wi-Fi) and flips upright like an easel for TV-like viewing of photos and video. It has no hard drive, files or applications of its own, but instead runs on the “cloud,” using web-based applications like webmail, Google, Flickr and Facebook.
Pentagram worked closely with Litl founder John Chuang and the Litl design team on the development of the Litl experience. Abbott Miller created an accessible, friendly identity for the brand and Lisa Strausfeld and her team designed a unique graphical user interface (GUI) based on Litl’s brilliant OS that makes the webbook fun, convenient and easy to use. All help to make Litl the next big thing in home computing.
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The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Making of the Modern Museum is the definitive chronicle of the creation of the iconic building, the final project of its renowned architect. Designed by Abbott Miller, who has a long-standing relationship with the museum, the book has been published to commemorate the Guggenheim’s 50th anniversary and is a companion volume to Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward, the blockbuster exhibition that became the museum’s most popular show ever during its run in New York this summer. (The exhibition has now traveled to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, where it opened last week.) Miller describes the project as the ultimate souvenir book, and it has been designed to captivate architectural aficionados and casual visitors alike.
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Abbott Miller has designed the companion book to “Amelia”, director Mira Nair’s new biography of Amelia Earhart starring Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank. The film opens this Friday. Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic in 1928, the first woman to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic in 1932, and disappeared over the Pacific in an attempted around-the-world flight in 1937. Nair’s film charts Earhart’s life as a series of flashbacks, looking back from that final flight to her rise as one of the pioneering female pilots in the United States.
Miller designed the companion book to Nair’s previous film, “The Namesake”, in 2007. For the book of “Amelia”, Miller worked closely with Nair to weave together production photos, stills from the film, archival photographs of the real Amelia and passages from the script to recreate the narrative of the story. Swank bears a remarkable resemblance to Earhart and the juxtaposition of images of the actress and the legendary aviatrix reinforces the painstaking verisimilitude of the film. The book’s colors are based on Earhart’s first plane, which was bright orange, and on the pastel tones of the film’s sets and costumes. Maps of Earhart’s journeys have been used as endpapers and section dividers throughout the book.
A look inside the book after the jump.
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Quick Link: Shopping with Abbott Miller in The New York Times
Abbott Miller has designed the installation and graphics for Dress Codes: The Third ICP Triennial of Photography and Video, opening today at the Museum of the International Center of Photography in New York. The triennial is the only major US survey devoted to contemporary photography and video. Dress Codes closes out a year of fashion focused programming at the museum and explores ideas of identity, production and consumption through the lens of fashion, style and image, from uniforms to haute couture, to dress as a celebration of personal identity or as a religious or political statement. The exhibition features the work of 34 artists including Stan Douglas, Barbara Kruger, Martha Rosler, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Zhou Tao and Thorsten Brinkmann. Miller worked on the show with ICP curators Kristen Lubben, Christopher Phillips, Carol Squiers and ICP adjunct curator Vince Aletti. Dress Codes is on view through January 17, 2010. More about the exhibition’s design coming soon.
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The Art Institute of Chicago recently opened its Modern Wing, a stunning 264,000 square foot expansion designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano. The wing is devoted to the museum’s modern and contemporary art, photography and design collections. The Art Institute has long been one of the world’s great encyclopedic museums, and the addition of the wing officially makes it the second-largest art museum in the U.S. As part of the expansion Abbott Miller was commissioned to create a new identity for the museum as well as a comprehensive program of interior and exterior environmental graphics.
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