Julia Lupton interviews her twin sister Ellen Lupton, a curator of “Graphic Design: Now In Production,” on view through January 6, 2013, at the Hammer Museum. Here’s an excerpt:
But design in California goes beyond movies, malls, and theme parks, and you’ll see oppositional and artisanal kinds of work in the show as well. In the late 1990s, for example, Dave Eggers famously deployed his desktop publishing skills to build a publishing enterprise with an assertive graphic presence. The McSweeney’s empire of products shows how design, typography, and the physical craft of bookmaking can merge creatively with writing, editing, and publishing. Detroit native Ed Fella, who has been teaching at CalArts for over two decades, has produced an ongoing series of low-tech, self-published posters that mix PressType letters with sliced, diced, and hand-drawn alphabets. Also made in California are screenprinted wallpapers designed by Geoff McFetridge and urban birdhouses produced by sign painter Jeff Canham and sculptor Luke Bartels. Such work taps into California’s long love affair with regional traditions, countercultural experiment, and back-to-the-woods craftsmanship.
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Image credit: Fanette Mellier, “Specimen,” 2008, Courtesy the artist