Joseph Epstein's thoughts on academic freedom

March 15, 2011

Tags: design education

In a seemingly unrelated--but totally related-- article, Joseph Epstein discusses the recent flap about a professor's use of sex toys in the classroom at Northwestern. The link here for us is Epstein's beautifully written review of the current state of "academic freedom." In his case, the professor, one Bailey,

"would have us know that he is doing edgy science; and the implicit blackmail here is that if we are not with him out there on the edge then we are intellectual philistines, no better than those people who, more than a century ago, attempted to scratch the paint off French Impressionist paintings or broke chairs in anger at the first performance of Le Sacre du printemps. Disagree with Professor Bailey’s views, in other words, and you are rearguard, a back number, one of those “fools in old style hats and coats, / Who half the time were soppy stern / And half at one another’s throats.”

John Maeda at odds with RISD Faculty

March 12, 2011

Tags: John Maeda, design education

When John Maeda was voted in as president of RISD four years ago, I was elated. Here was a man who stood at the intersection of art and technology, bright, a graphic designer, originally from Seattle-- the whole thing sounded to be just the thing that I thought RISD needed.

But it hasn't been good. On March 2nd, the faculty of Rhode Island School of Design overwhelmingly voted no confidence in Maeda's ability to lead the school as president. (more…)

Chasing the Perforation

March 8, 2011

Tags: postal stamps, graphic design

I have never met a graphic designer who didn't have a quiet love of stamps. They're portable posters, a sort of press 'n peel history, telling us about who was in power when--about what a culture values, who took it over, who saved the day. Chances are that if you can get that kind of cultural information down to the size of a stamp, it's valuable information.

In July, industrial designers will get their moment with historical perforation. Sylvia Harris, a true "citizen designer" who sits on our Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, just mentioned that the USPS Stamp Commission will release a new sheet of stamps honoring the Pioneers of American Industrial Design in July 2011. It's clear she went to bat for these stamps. And so we owe her one. Just the brightly-colored kind of little object we can use to remind our culture that everything we touch was designed by someone.

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