Friday, November 11, 2011
NY State of Mind Pt. 2: Standard Deviations
(click image to enlarge)
The new New Typography
by Pat Mendoza
Life’s wanderings recently led me back to New York City. While many situations varied from the last trip, most notably the weather, the premise still remained the same. Find a source of creative stimulus in the city that bleeds motivation. Sounds easy enough right?
This trip to the big town led me on an adventure through Central Park, the subway system, and the chicest restaurant I will ever step foot in. The park had many beautiful sights to cherish, the subway is the city in its purest form, and the truffled mac-and-cheese was exquisite, but I still lacked the creative spirit I was on a mission for. Enter the Museum of Modern Art and its magnificent collection. My journey had led me on a return visit to my favorite art museum and this time it was personal. While I had a memorable experience the first time through, I felt like the visit fell short of my expectations. Due to some minor time constraints and an entire sector of the collection not on view, I knew I had to return and return immediately. So when my friend presented me with an opportunity to return to New York, just six weeks removed from the first trip, I knew MoMA would take priority.
Boy did I get that one right. Upon finalizing the logistics of the trip I began to plan our itinerary. Immediately I jumped on MoMA’s website to franticly explore any notable current or upcoming exhibitions that would corroborate with my desired date. Coincidently enough, on view was an exhibit aptly titled “Talk To Me” and was a display of objects distinctive in the sense that they were items that engaged the viewer to interact and communicate with the pieces. Projects ranged from graphic user interfaces to video games. Now don’t get me wrong, this exhibit was unique and compelled me to look at certain objects in a different light, but something was still missing. So after perusing all other levels of the building we made our way to the design collection. Jackpot!
For the first time the Museum of Modern Art has acquired twenty-three digital typefaces to be on display as part of a special exhibition. Through an exhibit interestingly titled “Standard Deviations”, I was able to examine typefaces in a way that was different than situations past. I found myself analyzing the typeforms in a similar fashion to the way I studied van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or Cezanne’s “Bather”, which was surreal in its own right. It was at this moment that I realized typography’s impact in art, design, and culture as a whole. Typography is everywhere. It’s unavoidable and it’s undeniable. Moreover, when it’s executed perfectly, it’s invisible. Never once did I expect to mention Hoefler & Frere-Jones in the same sentence as Picasso and Pollock, but therein lies the magnitude of typography. Typefaces and letterforms are just as much a part of art as paints and canvases. And it should be given as much consideration as colors, compositions, and content.
This second trip to New York proved to be just as meaningful as the first, albeit for different reasons. Different sights, sounds, and smells. Okay, well maybe not smells, but you get the idea. I find it ironic that I frequently take trips to New York to “find” inspiration. And every time I do, I leave finding myself believing the notion it’s the city that I find the most inspiring. The museums and restaurants are exciting and the parks are beautiful, but it’s the city herself that moves me the most. The people. The buildings. The hustle and the bustle. That’s what I find the most stimulating. It’s the city of dreams and I don’t want to wake up yet.
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