Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Tag: Ettore Sottsass

Dianna Molzan


Every painting — every good painting, at least — is a problem. This problem can come in all shapes and sizes: a problem with the world, a problem with painting, a problem with one’s self. Whether it’s the curious vibrational effect of two colors in proximity to one another or the crisis of consumer capitalism, a painting embodies or responds to the impetus for its own creation. Not all paintings solve their problems; most don’t even come close. Many create more problems. That’s okay. Read the rest of this entry »

Peter Shire

Photograph: Tim Street Porter

Mid-Century Modified


‘The famous photograph’, as Peter Shire calls it, hangs over the dining table in his Los Angeles home. It shows the moment that his parents, Henry and Barbara, first met. The story is almost too good to be true: she was working for the San Francisco longshoremen’s union, he for IATSE – the union for technicians working in the theatre and entertainment industries. At a longshoremen’s fundraiser, a photographer snapped Henry delivering magazines to Barbara’s table. This being 1946, the early days of McCarthyism and Communist paranoia, the photographer sent one copy of his picture to Peter’s parents and one to the FBI. Peter, an artist famous for his work with the 1980s’ design collective Memphis, was born about nine months later.

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