Steven Heller Podcast from Art Basel with WPS1 Art Radio

December 21, 2006

Steven Heller, in a conversation with his co-chair of the SVA Designer As Author program, Lita Talarico, designers Stefan Sagmeister and Deborah Buck, and the Wolfsonian Museum’s Cathy Leff. Link Here.

Design and Architecture (DNA) Interview with KcRw

December 19, 2006

Steven Heller talks about artful coffee table books. Hosted by Frances Anderton

Fresh from the Miami sands some blog postings on Miami Art Basel

December 10, 2006

Click on the site or read the unedited copy below.

Report from Art Basel 4

December 10, 2006

After hanging with us for almost two days, Stefan Sagmeister asked in his lilting Viennese intonation: “Have you seen any art, or do you just eat and party?” Hmmmmm. I pondered. We did visit the Acqua Show (at the Acqua Motel turned completely over to galleries representing emerging artists), but I can't remember anything there, but sitting on a bench eating salted nuts and sipping freshly bottled Miami H2O. So, yes, Stefan was right, the purpose of the trip (I guess), to see art, had thus far eluded us, and NOW was the time to make amends. Shamed, we trekked to the Convention Center (which to my surprise was pretty close to the hotel).

Frankly, the Fair was an overwhelming experience (kinda like the boat show in NYC, except minus the beckoning swim-suit sales girls). As I walked up and down the long, crowded aisles, I was dumfounded by the level and quantity of personal expression. As a designer, we often say we’re bringing “expression” or “voice” to our “solutions” to client’s problems. But this was the real critical mass of unbridled, unfettered, and at times unconventional public selfs. The individual as individual—from Warhol to Harring - from works on paper to video projection—from abstract marks to a simulated (perfectly formed) bleeding dead man on the floor of the Convention center - was there in abundance. So much to see, too much to ponder, though I’m sorry to say not much to comment on (although my favorite piece of art was running into Martha Stewart strolling along, no make-up, no entourage, a walking icon soaking up stationary icons). Frankly, I was not just overwhelmed but dwarfed by the experience, and happy to return to eating and partying if only for another few hours.

Report from Art Basel 3

December 9, 2006

The panel on WPS1 was part of the SVA HOUR at Art Basel. Our half hour goes quick when you're chatting up art and design. The participants were Stefan Sagmeister, designer, Deborah Buck, painter and gallery owner (The Gallery at Buck House), Cathy Leff, director of the Wolfsonian—FIU, and Lita Talarico, co-chair of School of Visual Arts MFA Designer as Author program. I was the moderator (or as the radio folks quaintly called me, “the Host”). We talked about the intersection of art and design—the growing shift in attitude on the part of the art establishment to fudge the boundaries between the disciplines, media, and languages. We discussed art’s recent poaching of design, which of course dates back to the Pop artists, and we nodded to the notion of the “total work of art” that dates back to the Bauhaus. But most of all we discussed where design fits in the scheme of personal versus public expression. As Sagmeister said, “design has to work,” and art just has to be. So how does the art world parse these distinctions, and what benefit to culture is the outcome. Talarico identified an artists’ wall paper project she recently saw in Chelsea as a profound nexus between applied and fine; Buck talked about building curatorial narratives that include both "fine" and applied art—if they fit together, why not fit them together?; and Leff talked about the Wolfie’s interest in the meaning of art and design, and avoiding “art for art” in their collection strategies.

(Art Basel is, of coure, full of that art for art stuff, but refreshingly the Blimp Parade was like a huge designer toy festival, and there was even a show somewhere on Washington Ave devoted designer and artist toys.)

The studio was one of those famous Art Basel containers high atop a foundation container, giving the impression of one of those WWII movie scenes where John Wayne sent a last message to the fleet about enemy positions before being blown to smithereens. The show was broadcast live on a local station and streamed through It could also be heard through speakers situated at the Art Positions container stagging area. Was anyone listening? Who knows? But with all that art intersecting with design around, who'd be near a radio?

Report from Art Basel 2

December 8, 2006

Well, Unbeige must’ve been read by most of the Art Baselites: The secret revealed, despite our extremely early arrival at the stunning Deco cold storage warehouse that is now the gorgeous Wolfsonian-FIU museum party ( to celebrate their commissioned, site-specific Lawrence Weiner typographic “murals”, the lobby was packed, with revelling Wolfie friends and admirers filling the exquisite galleries and inspiring book/shop cafe. The superlatives are well deserved. With our strategy to be first at bar and food trays foiled, we jostled for the apricot and pineapple gin fizzes (make mine just fizz) and tasty (the teeny) fingerlickin' good finger food. Fortunately, though, earlier in the day we were given a private guided tour of the permanent collection—especially grand were John Vassos' NYC subway turnstile, the 30s era Magic Chef range, Albert Speer's decorative grate with interlocking swastikas, and well, virtually everything on the floor, walls, and ceiling (to die for). We also spent too brief a time guided - almost like speed dating - through the Wolfsonian's library of design treasures hosted by the erudite librarian Frank Luca. What a thrill it was to be in touching distance from some great print icons, like the Depero Bolted Book and a Weiner Werkstatt fabric swatch book. We also met Mr. Weiner (no relation to Werkstatt) who warmly greeted and introduced us to his lobby installation. What a lovely, unassuming man.

Though it ain’t over yet, since the Wolfsonian generously opened all its galleries for the party (Modernism in Silver was on view), allowing one to at once parteee AND view treasures, this was the best event (and dare I say, the best art) of the entire Fair. Don't get any better than the Wolfie.

Report from Art Basel 1

December 7, 2006

Figured out the best way to go to all these hip parties yet not be jostled, hassled, tussled, and otherwise part of the madding crowd. Go early.

We went to the Yoko Ono party smack at 7 pm as the invitation noted, and only a handful of guests showed up at the ultra modern hotel (can’t remember the name) pool area. Yoko had not arrived either, but appeared repeatedly on a video loop, showing off her ONOCHORD, a small flashlight—given to all party goers—that when clicked in succession, comme ça: 1 click, 2 clicks, 3 clicks, signified I LOVE YOU. Picking up on her perennial GIve Peace A Chance and All You Need Is Love theme, the flashlight conceit is designed to telegraph eternal love to all who see it. Anyway, back to the point. Since Yoko was not yet there, all the comfy chairs and couches were empty, the liquor (and seltzer) flowed—and there were no lines at the bar—so the atmosphere was blissfully easy going. By the time we decided to leave Yoko had arrived, as did all the extremely well made swells and their entourages. We listened to Yoko give a few choice words of wisdom, but left before the throngs, and before she gave a speech, which we saw on video anyway. What a way to parteee.

The other best way to party, is go late. We went to the Moss opening in the design district of Miami, and the throngs had moved elsewhere. While the traffic was horrible, at least one could see the work of designers like hella jongerius and Constantine Boym without being annoyed by other attendees.

Steven Heller interview with Susan Choi of The Believer

December 5, 2006

Steven Heller has long collected artifacts from this “golden age” of pictorial racism. The article (PDF download) contains selections from his collection, accompanied by a conversation with novelist Susan Choi about the images, questions of their relevance today, and Heller’s impulse for collecting them. link to The Believer current issue

Tenth Anniversary Issue of KAK (Moscow)

December 5, 2006

Features profiles and interviews on dozens of designers from the US, Europe and Russia including a showcase of work from Steven Heller (download PDF of article)

Holiday Book Review: Drawing

December 3, 2006

Steven Heller reviews 4 books that highlight the extraordinary drawing skill, style and technique of Saul Steinberg, R. Crumb, Drew Friedman and David Sandlin.

Museum of Sex Exhibit

November 30, 2006

An installation of the Museum of Sex exhibit curated by Joshua Berger and Sarah Dougher at the Campbell Gallery at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon. Includes an introduction by Steven Heller.

Opening reception February 14, 2006 6–8 pm
Show runs 2/14/07–3/13/07

Campbell Gallery
Western Oregon University
345 N. Monmouth Ave.
Monmouth, Oregon 97361

The Driver Speaks

November 21, 2006

The Driver Speaks. Article written on Design Taxi about graphic intervention, or how designers critically redress the social, political and cultural grievances of the day.

Steven Heller on Al Goldstein: NY Times Book Review Article

November 19, 2006

Book Review

Download a PDF of the NY Times Book Review article on Al Goldstein "My Dirty Life and Times" written by Steven Heller. Also included in the PDF is a write up in the Times “Up Front” section.

Steven Heller on Al Goldstein: Podcast

November 19, 2006

Download the NY Times Podcast Interview with Steven Heller on Al Goldstein

“Designs for Playing”

November 12, 2006

Steven Heller’s review of Kids Books "Designs for Playing" in the New York Times Book Review.

“The Education of a Comic Artist”

November, 2006

Recently added to the "Eduction of" series, Steven Heller has completed “The Education of a Comic Artist” Click here to download some more information.