Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist

Overview

Tibor Kalman, probably best known for the witty designs of his company M&Co and his provocative work for Benetton's Colors magazine, defines the eclectic multidisciplinary approach that has come to characterize graphic design in the past decade. Eclectic is perhaps an understatement: Kalman's work ranges from journalism, advertising, and publishing to watches, paperweights, rulers, album covers, t-shirts, film titles, commercials, urban guidelines, and more. Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist, designed by ...
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1998-11-01 Hardcover Good The spine of the book contains a cut fro storage.

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Overview

Tibor Kalman, probably best known for the witty designs of his company M&Co and his provocative work for Benetton's Colors magazine, defines the eclectic multidisciplinary approach that has come to characterize graphic design in the past decade. Eclectic is perhaps an understatement: Kalman's work ranges from journalism, advertising, and publishing to watches, paperweights, rulers, album covers, t-shirts, film titles, commercials, urban guidelines, and more. Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist, designed by Michael Bierut of Pentagram and edited by I.D. Magazine senior writer Peter Hall, is the first comprehensive collection of Kalman1s work and ideas. This full-color title -- numbering over 400 pages -- includes product designs, stills and storyboards from his film and video projects, and spreads from his book and magazine work. An impressive list of essay contributors includes Kurt Andersen, Paola Antonelli, David Byrne, Jay Chiat, Steven Heller, Jenny Holzer, Isaac Mizrahi, Florent Morellet, Rick Poynor, Leonard Riggio, Rebecca Robertson, Ingrid Sischy, Elisabeth Sussman, and Oliviero Toscani.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
How does one categorize a career that turned the world of graphic design upside down? If you're Tibor Kalman, you call it a good beginning. The renegade designer has changed the way we look at everything from magazines to music videos to restaurant menus. This overview of Kalman's career, Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist, manages to capture his brilliance, offering page after page of his landmark designs, commentary from and interviews with the man himself, and contributions from his collaborators, including David Byrne, Isaac Mizrahi, Jenny Holzer, and many more.
Belinda Luscombe
. . . The only downside to this provocative catalog is that little in it is new, and Kalman's work relies on surprise.
-- Time Magazine
Brad Wieners
If, as Mickey Knox once quipped, media is like the weather, then Tibor Kalman is a man for all seasons. Kalman has excelled as a magazine editor (Colors), an art director (Artforum), a creative director (Interview), and an industrial and graphic design entrepreneur (M&Co) whose clients include Chiat/Day, Jenny Holzer, MTV, MoMA, the Talking Heads, and New York1s 42nd Street Development Project.
-- Wired
Glen Helfand
The concept of visual culture is freely tossed around in design circles, but few explore its possibilities like Tibor Kalman....[He] has made a very visible mark with a striking range of achievements: art director, creative director, video director, exhibition designer, type designer, editor-in-chief; and affiliations: Artforum, Interview, Whitney Museum of American Art, MTV, Benetton's Colors.
-- San Francisco Examiner Magazine
Library Journal
From his introductory notes explaining the book's subtitle, Kalman demonstrates a clear contrariness to the common understanding of the role of graphic design. From window dresser and shopping bag designer of the nascent Barnes & Noble in the 1970s to founder and leader of the award-winning M & Co. design firm in the 1980s to his revolutionary anti-selling aesthetic as founding editor-in-chief at Benetton's Colors magazine, Kalman has sought out roles unfamiliar to him and done them in his own way. This hasn't stopped him from developing one of the best-known and most influential bodies of work in the field. If all this monograph did were to convey this complex personality--as it does in the more than a dozen essays by and interviews with former clients and co-workers--it would be a grand success. But, more than that, it surveys important work from his entire career in more than 600 illustrations, all thoughtfully captioned. Essential for all academic libraries, this addictively browseable tribute is also recommended for larger public libraries.--Eric Bryant, "Library Journal"
I.D. Magazine
Perverse Optimist traces the career of the late design great through the worlds of others—colleagues, clients, friends, foes—from his beginnings (student activist and part-time window dresser at the NYU book store that later became Barnes & Noble) through his successes with M&Co, Colors and other projects. "Because of the chronology, you can witness the evolution of an ideology," said deWilde of the unique tome. "You go back and forth between what the philosophy of the designer is an the work itself."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568981505
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1998
  • Pages: 420
  • Product dimensions: 8.33 (w) x 9.85 (h) x 1.56 (d)

Interviews & Essays

From a barnesandnoble.com e-nnouncement

How do you categorize a career that turned graphic design upside down? If you're Tibor Kalman, you call it a good beginning. Kalman redefined outlets for messages and ideas and changed the way we look at everything from magazines to music videos to restaurant menus. TIBOR KALMAN: PERVERSE OPTIMIST is finally able to capture this brilliant career with page after page of the landmark design that has made Kalman a hero of the design world and beyond. Contributions from David Byrne, Isaac Mizrahi, Jenny Holzer, and many more, as well as commentary and interviews from the man himself, give deeper insight into the hundreds of pages of photographs chronicling this landmark career. Tibor has some vociferous ideas on just about every subject, and his own book is no exception. We asked him to share his thoughts on this consummate collection of his work—and he managed to astonish us yet again!

A Letter from Tibor Kalman:

Dear Y'all,

Just a quick note to say that if you want to be rich and famous and tell dumb clients to f*** off, you'd better buy my book.

It was, of course, written, edited, and designed and contributed to by people smarter than myself, such as Peter Hall of I.D. Magazine, and Michael Bierut of Pentagram, Jay Chiat, David Byrne, Jenny Holzer, Isaac Mizrahi, and best of all, my wife, Maira Kalman.

Here are some advantages to owning this handsome volume:

  1. There is a big goofy picture of me on the cover so you'll know what I look like. It has a super-hard cover and a nice thick unbending spine.
  2. The book is not too tall.
  3. It doesn't have a dustjacket:
    1. because we presumed that you live in a dust-free environment;
    2. we tested the book for dust retention and found that dust likes to sit on the top of the book not on its jacket;
    3. we wanted to avoid having that gloopy text from the sales department about why you cannot live without this explosive and passionate, life-changing tome;
    4. we managed to save one small ugly tree somewhere in Canada.
  4. Placed on the floor, Perverse Optimist could:
    1. prevent a door from closing;
    2. be used to trip competing designers or nearsighted clients.
  5. Used properly you could injure and even murder someone using this book, but I believe the publishers have insurance for this.
  6. It will burn for as long as 34 minutes in a fireplace.

There are two drawbacks:

  1. It cannot be used as a flotation device; in fact it's not even water-resistant.
  2. It is an ineffective flyswatter.
Cheers, Tibor
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