Self-taught, controversial, and revered, Francis Bacon was one of the most talented figurative painters of the 20th century. This year, a major traveling retrospective marks the centenary of his birth.
He left home at 16. Banished by his father after being caught wearing his mother’s clothes, Bacon drifted between London, Berlin, and Paris for the next several years — surviving as a gambler and hustler.
Bacon got his start as a designer. He first gained notoriety for his modernist furniture and rugs, but quickly abandoned that career to focus on painting surreal, fragmented subjects, based on found photographs and reproductions.
He immortalized his fellow barflies. From the ’60s onward, Bacon painted twisted visions of his inner circle of drinking pals, including his lover George Dyer, who he first met when Dyer burglarized Bacon’s pad.
View work from Bacon’s traveling retrospective (and visit the exhibition in New York), read three classic interviews, watch video of the artist from the BBC archives, and buy the exhibition catalogue.
The BBC are experimenting with some home page personalization, starting with lower level pages. The Guardian article examines the parallels with iGoogle, deciding that it was worth the effort, if only to prove a point.
I would put forth that adapting the experience, giving you choices for “what” to consume and “how” to consume it, gives rise to a whole new strategy of “adapting”. The technology to support this effort is now well known and refined, we can thank web 2.0 (yahoo/salesforce.com/igoogle) for such an approach.
The greatest challenge comes from refining the parameters of choice — meaning, giving you thoughtful ways to present information so that it’s still very usable. The assets I would want at my disposal would include shifting the headline, length of story, article summary, size and placement of a picture, maybe a community feed or a twitter feed?
Two London based product designers have learnt to be adaptive and figure out way to get products out of the door. They describe the story, about humble beginnings from a basement in North London. Suck UK is a highly awarded and respected source of inventive and often inspiring products.
SUCK UK produce furniture, lighting, interior products and accessories. Design is mostly by Sam and Jude or selected by them from some of the best designers around the world.
The story … IN THE BEGINNING… we started out doing stuff for other people. One off eclectic projects attracted commissions from architects and other designers. The idea to produce actual commercial products came from working on low budget film, TV, and interior jobs (but mainly from the gaps between the jobs). SUCK (the brand) was established in late 1999 from humble beginnings working on a kitchen floor in a bedsit in North London. We worked on our own concepts making stuff that we liked for no-one in particular: products with Glamour and pure industrial forms, off-the-wall and unnecessary functionality, things to grab your attention without resorting to kitsch or parody. We used materials that we knew about and experimented with ones we didnt. We obsessed about processes and materials, always working towards elegant (Cheap) production solutions. Working in this cramped environment with no outside support made learning hard and fast. We worked (unfortunately for the neighbours) through the night and filled our days with dead-end jobs to buy materials and pay the phone bill. Money was unbelievably tight and a unique ability to utilise our surroundings and whatever tools we could get became a way of life. With trial and error we learned to cannibalise existing products, combine materials in new ways and to scrounge professional expertise as often as possible. It was fast becoming evident that our makeshift studio was completely inappropriate, kitchens are no place for sheet metal fabrication, sticky chemicals and spray paint. Our flat-mates decided enough was enough and they wanted their home back. New premises were required and with no money the solution came in the form of an empty room in a squatted embassy building in Primrose Hill. The only room without boards at the windows became our studio and a nearby phone-box the office. It was damp, dark and smelt but there was lots of room to experiment in. It was at this time that we really started to develop our products, banging together prototypes with whatever materials were at hand and attempting some sort of small-scale manufacture. Now SUCK really started making progress and developing some sort of a direction. We were working on stuff that wouldnt look out of place in Londons clubs and galleries but we wanted to get this into peoples houses… Production was set back by an unexpected eviction late one night. Most of our old equipment was lost as we scrabbled around on the floor gathering up our stuff with bemused police officers looking on in disbelief. We made it out with our prototypes intact and the determination and confidence to quit our day jobs and put all our energy into developing the brand. Two moves later and we are now based in a East End studio like proper designers. No sooner than the dust has settled and we are planning a permanent exhibition space… We refuse to restrict ourselves to any one material or technique. Each of our products is different from the next and as we discover different ways of working and new materials we incorporate these into new products. SUCK is not a craft based company, we design based on our knowledge of how, why, where and what is possible. We work closely with specialist manufacturers in many fields so we get the benefit of years of manufacturing expertise without having to physically learn the craft. As time passes a more recognisable SUCK Style is emerging and we are already ditching some of the earlier products which helped launch the company as we introduce newer ideas. Our stuff is attracting a lot of attention from the public as well as the press. We have appeared in the usual interior mags and Sunday supplements. We have even represented the face of “contemporary design” on the BBC. Public reaction to our products was fantastic when we launched at Mode in June 2000 (we kept it quiet that everything at the show was only at the prototype stage and nobody seemed to notice!). We have been presented an award for ‘Most Innovative New Product’ by Terence Conran (It took another ten months before The Conran Shop itself agreed to stock our stuff) and Best ‘In Show at MODE’. We are now represented in all the big ‘name’ department stores as well as loads of indie shops (who supported us from early on). We are never content however, and the next few months will see us release some of the best new products to come out of the UK in a long time… SUCK UK is products designed by Sam and Jude Central Saint Martins 96 (BA Product Design)
After a poor four-year-old Indian boy sprinted into local record books for running 65km (40 miles) in seven hours in May, many children are following in his footsteps. Budhia Singh’s run catapulted the little boy from the sleepy eastern state of Orissa into the national limelight and controversy with the country divided on the hazards of allowing children to run marathons. Emboldened by his feat, other children in the state are running long distances for fame and money. BBC News article