Thursday, January 29, 2009

1970s Polish Posters from the Montague Family Collection

Just a few days ago I recovered four of the following five posters from my parent's basement. There is far more to this graphic design haul, but I'll start with the Polish posters. My father taught art history and design history, for decades starting in the mid 60s. He has quite a lot of interesting ephemera stored in decidedly non-archival conditions. The Polish posters were sent to my father from my uncle, Stephen Montague who from 1972 to 1974, was on a Fulbright studying composition at the Frédéric Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw and the Experimental Music Studio of Polish Radio. Four of the posters are for the Warsaw Autumn music festival, which is a festival of contemporary music (now in its 53rd year). I've been trying to find images online of the other Warsaw Autumn posters, but I've only found 1970, I would like to see them all together.

Warsaw Autumn 1971, Hubert Hilscher, 26"x38"
This one I have actually had for two years, I found it in my Grandparents garage in Florida. Unfortunately the lower right hand corner it torn off and the area around it is crumpled. Oddly, I like the two Hilscher posters I have, far more than anything else I have found by him online.

Warsaw Autumn 1973, Hubert Hilscher, 26"x38"

Warsaw Autumn 1974, Waldemar Swierzy, 26"x38"

Warsaw Autumn 1974, Jan Mlodozeniec, 26"x38"
I seem to remember this poster hanging in our house when I was a kid.

American Western Painting Exhibit (Amerykanski Zachod)
1974, Jan Mlodozeniec, 26"x38"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rocket Powered Shopping Cart

A reader of my book, recently sent me these images of a rocket powered shopping cart. He accurately identified it as B/4 On/As Personal Property, B/8 Structurally Modified.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Backyard Photographs of Rick Lieder

I just discovered the backyard Bird photographs of Rick Lieder via Boing Boing. I really like the shots of birds in flight, he has a book coming out of the series, see it here. He also does insect photography, which I like a lot less, they seem overly manipulated.

I have my own Bird photography project which still needs to be put online. You can see a samples here.

A lot of the photos remind me of Hiroshige's bird prints.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My 2009 Winter Bike / The Slush Slicer 1.0

I like riding a bicycle in the winter. When I used to commute three miles to work each day, I enjoyed the challenge of trying to make it even under the worst possible conditions. Over the years I developed a good sense of what kind of bicycle works best for the urban winter environment. A lot of people assume that you would want a mountain bike for winter riding, this is not true. Fat knobby tires are useless in 90% of the conditions that you commonly encounter. Most of the time you are better off with a thinner tire that can cut through the snow to the pavement. And in situations where it is icy, knobby tires don't offer any additional traction. The other problem with mountain bikes, is that derailleurs quickly get clogged with slush and ice and stop working. non-disk brakes also stop working in such conditions. In really cold temperatures you're also more likely to have cables snap. In the past I found that Raleigh Sports three speeds worked well, because the gearing is inside the hub. But the breaking was still a problem, since the brakes on the Sports weren't that great to start with.

As a side note, I have an attic full of Raleigh Sports in various states of disrepair. My taste in bikes has moved on in recent years, but I still think they're cool. Check out this fantastic ad for the Sports from the May 1969 issue of Esquire:

Anyway, to get back to the main point, I think my latest winter bike has resolved the problems I had with the Sports. I stripped down an old ten speed Raleigh Sprite (probably made around 1976) and put a coaster brake on it. This is basically as good as it gets as far as stopping, plus there are no cables that can snap or get in the way. I was going to put a front hand brake on, but so far it has seemed unnecessary. The chain is on the smaller front cog so the gearing is about right, for riding through heavy snow or into a head wind. It is a little frustrating to not be able to go as fast as I am used to, but this is probably for the best given the winter conditions. I also use the largest BMX pedals I can find so that my big winter boots have plenty of traction. I really like the frame geometry of the Raleighs of the 60's and 70's, so I'm glad to be able to give this bike a second a second life. Hoepfully the rust won't be too terrible and I can use it again next winter.

Single speed with a coaster brake, the next craze after fixed?

The handle bars are the style that originally would have been on a Sports or Sprite, but flipped upside down. The metal fenders are the original to the Sprite.

The classic Raleigh head badge

Another side note:
While I don't have any desire to get into riding
fixed gear bikes, I do like what the trend has done for bike design in the last few years. There seems to be an appreciation for the classic geometry. Many people are turning old bikes into fixies. On the site people post images of their converted bikes, some of them are really great.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Sites are Back Up

Thankfully all of my web and email issues have been resolved. I'm hugely relieved. And because I don't believe in non visual posting, here are some Xmas lights photographed from a car.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I was informed last week that (*$%#ing) Buffnet, the company that hosts and has gone out of business. I received no notice from the company and I wasn't sent the codes I need to gain control of my domains from Network Solutions. So, this week, with my new web hosting company, I've been going through the process necessary to get my domains transferred. Until today Buffnet's servers were still running (although they weren't answering the phones). Anyway, now they are off and my sites are gone until Network Solutions finishes the transfer. The worst part of the whole thing is that my main email address,, was a mask, managed by Buffnet for my real address Now that the servers are off all of my emails are bouncing. I'm extremely pissed at Buffnet. My hope is that this can be resolved by Monday.

Monkey and Dog

I find this video endlessly fascinating.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Pitts

On Friday my friend Jason and I drove down to Pittsburgh to visit the 55th Carnegie International, the Mattress Factory and The Warhol Museum. It's about 3.5 to 4 hours from Buffalo, depending on weather and traffic. It took us a little longer due to heavy snow on the first leg of the journey. I wrote in my last post that I was disappointed by the previous International but that I was more optimistic about this one, unfortunately, that optimism was misplaced. I was totally bored by this show. The only high points were Barry McGee's installation, and Mike Kelley's Kandors series (Kandors explained in my friend John Massier's blog here, scroll down a bit). I also liked Wilhelm Sasnal's paintings. We didn't get to see Doug Aitkens projection piece, you can only see it at night. Too bad, the stills sure look good. I don't know, maybe I have a problem, the percentage of art that I find interesting is so tiny...

Anyway, here are some images and notes from the trip. All of the pictures were taken with my iPhone, that's why the colors are so weird.

The drive down to Pittsburgh was somewhat harrowing, we encountered pretty heavy snow between Buffalo and Erie PA.

J-Con in front of the Barry McGee installation. I like McGee's work, I was really blown away by it the first time I encountered it 10 years ago. Even though I felt like I had seen all this before, it was done well.

The gallery guide described David Shrigley's work as "...Almost without exception, his works are hilarious, cynical, and sharply intelligent..." I don't generally agree with that assessment of Shrigley's stuff, but I have to say this piece got me.

Our ticket into the International got us into the Natural history part of the museum as well. We dashed through the dinosaur exhibit, which was pretty incredible, but I was most interested in seeing the display of Miocene and Pleistocene mammals. I've been thinking and reading a lot about this period lately, I'll explain why in another post.

The installation, Silver Clouds (
Created for a 1966 exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery) was my favorite at the Warhol. Fans blow Mylar balloons endlessly around the room. I would have spent an hour lying on the floor in there if I had the time. Strangely, I ran into Buffalonians (and all around great people) Hal and Elizabeth Leader, in the Warhol Museum. Leader All-Surface Printing has printed and mounted all of the pieces for the Stray Shopping Cart Project gallery shows.

This is me in the permanent Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Dots Mirrored Room installation at the Mattress Factory. They say not to take pictures, but please, who's not going to take a picture in that space! If I were the kind of artist that did work about art (if you know what I mean), I would do a series of flash photographs of James Turrell installations, the gallery text practically writes itself! It's probably already been done.

UFOs over Pittsburgh, viewed from The Mattress Factory.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Life on Mars / Pittsburgh

Today I'm travelling with a friend to Pittsburgh to see The 55th Carnegie International: Life on Mars. It opened last May and closes on Sunday, so I've basically waited until the last possible minute to check it out. I saw the last International three years ago and was not impressed. I've heard better things about this one so I'm optimistic. We'll probably also go to the Warhol and the Mattress Factory. Given the title of the show, the Warhol connections (knowing him, singing about him, and playing him on multiple occasions), and the fact that he turned 62 yesterday, I'm posting this incredibly awesome picture of David Bowie.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

100 Design Book Covers

There's a cool posting of 100 Design book covers on the blog Visual Evasion.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Updating the Site

I spent the last couple of days revising the design of my web site (and as you can see this blog). Because I have limited coding skills, fixing up the site can be a frustrating process. Someday both Montague Projects and The Stray Shopping Cart Project will need to be torn down and internally rebuilt by a professional. Anyway, I think the revised site looks way better than it did before. See it HERE.

This is the font I'm using for the new design, it's called Stock A and it's from
Canada Type. I made a little specimen design below, I like that it leans towards illegible. Normally I would choose a subtler font for an artist's site, but I'm tired of doing that for my own stuff.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Take Off & Landing

More often than not, when I go to YouTube to look for something, I end up getting pulled into an hour plus trip into obscure video subjects. I'm particularly susceptible to videos of people crashing motorcycles or flipping rally cars. Today I happened into clips of planes taking off and landing. A lot of the videos document difficult landings, they strike me as beautiful and scary.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Trucker's Alphabet

This is project by Eric Tabuchi is kind of cool. Via Noisy Decent Graphics

Monographie der Spinnen

These look much better when you click to enlarge.

BibliOdyssey has a post on the recently digitized Monographie der Spinnen / Monographia Aranearum' (Monograph of Spiders) by Carl Wilhelm Hahn (1786-1835), a German zoologist and artist. The book was issued in installments between 1820 and 1836. you can see the whole thing on the University of Heidelberg's website, here. I like the inclusion of an illustration showing the actual size.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Eve at WNYBAC

View of the Ball Drop and Fireworks from the second floor of the Western New York Book Arts Collaborative building.

Colette took this picture with her iPhone.

Colette's self portrait.

It was very cold on Wednesday night (around 10 degrees). After the ball drop, people started heading to their cars as the fireworks were still going off.