Author: Kristina Parsons

Poster, International Design Festival, Osaka, 1983. Designed by Yusaku Kamekura. Gift of Sara and Marc Benda, 2009-20-16.
Something Old, Something New
Yusaku Kamekura achieved what most only hope to accomplish in more than half a century of professional longevity. Kamekura was born in Japan’s Niigata prefecture in 1915 and was schooled at the Institute of New Architecture and Industrial Arts, built by Ranahichiro Kawakita. As a student, Kamekura was heavily influenced by Bauhaus design theories and...
Photograph of face of man; skin covered with biomorphic trellis pattern. Upper right, starburst sticker that reads: STEFAN / SAGMEISTER / THINGS / I HAVE LEARNED / IN MY LIFE / SO FAR.
Life Lessons
The impetus for Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far came directly from a list in Stefan Sagmeister’s diary under the same title. Over the course of seven years, Sagmeister found unorthodox ways to create interactive installations in the global world that visualized the maxims catalogued in his diary. He used spaces traditionally...
A cubist composition of light shining through overlapping, transparent arches with the name "Saks-Fifth Avenue" beneath.
A Window Into the 1920s
In 1927, Adam Gimbel, President of Saks Fifth Avenue, commissioned the painter-turned-designer Donald Deskey to create a number of window displays, as well as covers for advertising brochures to rejuvenate the store’s image. This brochure cover Deskey sketched depicts an abstracted cubist landscape perhaps alluding to the bright open windows of Saks Fifth Avenue. Both...
Red-bodied and green-tentacled squid costume with orange, green and blue dots. A figure with raised arms, stockinged feet, and green headress is visible through the superimposed squid (tentacles at the top).
From the Realm of the Sea-King
Deep under the waves in the depths of the realm of the Sea-King, designer Serge Soudeikine created a world of whimsical creatures that brought the Russian opera, Sadko, to life. The opera, written by composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, follows the journey of a guslar (Southeastern European stringed instrument) player named Sadko, and ultimately provides a parable for the...
Poster, 1986
A Dramatic Gesture
Massimo Vignelli’s poster was commissioned by the Napoli 99 Foundation along with twenty-three other artists from around the world as a contribution towards the cultural image of Naples. Each artist’s interpretation of the city touched on a wide range of topics from architecture, poetry and music, to Mount Vesuvius, the earthquake, and pollution.  The posters...
Perspectival view of a row of identically-dressed men—in black jacket and striped gray and black slacks, and hats—all are facing the wall. Right side has checkerboard floor in peach and terracotta; a man can be seen in lower right cropped off. Center, in tan: THE THEATER. / VERY PARCO. Japanese characters, upper right.
The Theater. Very Parco.
Eiko Ishioka was a prolific and revolutionary designer. She contributed enormously to the fields of art direction, graphic design, production, as well as costume design for film, theater and opera. Based in part on her innovative work for the Japanese cosmetic manufacturing company, Shiseido, Ishioka was hired as the chief art director for a new...
The car-train is seen going down the midway, among a throng of visitors.
All The World’s A Fair
When F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby in 1925, the Valley of Ashes he described as “fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens,” was a very real place. This wasteland between Brooklyn and Queens was known as the Corona Dump, where the Brooklyn Ash Removal Company disposed...
Mercury flying diagonally from upper right to lower left, with his arms extended, gathers air waves portrayed as three series of parallel lines gathered to a point.
Mercury’s Swift Flight
From the Object of the Day archives, a Hildreth Meière mural design for the Chicago World's Fair.
Poster: Shiseido Sun Oil, 1971. Designed by Shin Matsunaga Design Inc. Gift of Shin Matsunaga, 1992-144-30.
Show Some Skin
Though in western cultures, suntans are appreciated for their indication of good health and a leisurely lifestyle, the Japanese standard remained quite different even up to the mid-1960s. Since ancient times, Asian cultures have idealized lighter complexions because they indicated a person’s privileged status. Those people living richly enough to remain indoors maintained a whiter...