Now open at Berlin’s Kunstgewerbemuseum, Retrotopia: Design for Socialist Spaces is “a collaborative exhibition project that looks at the role and influence of design in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc and former Yugoslavia between the 1950s and the 1980s.” The exhibit features photographs, objects, and recreations of designed spaces from throughout the Soviet bloc, and includes many designs that never made it past the concepting and drafting phases.
HR Giger (1940–2014) is best known for the nightmarish creatures and environments of 1979’s Alien, and more broadly for his transgressive (yet deeply stylized and stylish) paintings on broadly “biomechanical” themes. Much of Giger’s work, which in addition to the paintings and drawings for which he was best known included sculpture, industrial art, and even furniture, was created in his Zurich home studio, which he transformed over the decades into a real-world embodiment of his aesthetic.
Noriyoshi Ohrai (1935-2015) was a Japanese poster artist and illustrator known for his vivid work that elevated mainstream sci-fi and action tropes into hallucinatory, richly detailed compositions. In addition to his well-known posters for Star Wars and Godzilla, he created promotional artwork for thousands of films from Japan and around the world.
Survey, the newest addition to Park Books’ ongoing Architecture Iconographies series, is an examination of architectural drawings, paintings, maps, and photographs from the last five centuries. Rather than attempting to showcase the full range of images from such an eventful and prolific epoch, the book chooses instead to present its subject via six essays, each of which focuses on a single architect or scholar. Through these essays – which mostly focus on 18th-19th century drawings of classical architecture, many of them from the UK’s Drawing Matter collection – the book makes the argument that surveys are not just visual renderings of buildings, but also an integral part of the way those buildings are perceived and understood.
From August 12 – September 5, 2021, the sound festival Sonambiente took over Berlin’s recently decommissioned Tegel Airport (TXL). Various sound-based installations took over the airports corridors, gates, and waiting rooms. As the airport saw its final flight in November 2020, and was fully decommissioned in May 2021, the building remained relatively intact, though informational signs and installed businesses (such as in-terminal restaurants) had been deconstructed, and some of the exterior facades had begun to show signs of wear.
BEN CATMULL IS an Oakland artist who works in various combinations of ink, watercolor, and scratchboard. He is currently branching out into metal plate intaglio printmaking and combining handmade miniatures with filmmaking (no, not stop motion). His letterpress prints (including the moth image below) started as simple pen-and-ink drawings and were printed by Volta press.
Ben’s published works are Ghosts and Ruins (2013) and Monster Parade (2006), both from Fantagraphics, and Paper Theater (2001, Xeric Grant). Physical copies of Monster Parade are sold out, but it can be read online here.