After watching a couple hours of Bravo this past weekend and cruising by the glossy rags at Barnes & Nobles I thought, “Who cares?” Seriously, who cares? I admit, like most people, I don’t mind seeing half naked pictures of Kim Kardashian online or on film, but other than that…why is our society so engrossed by celebrity culture?
Later that same weekend I was cruising through Walter Dorwin Teague’s book, Design This Day, and started thinking about celebrity in the context of design. You know who I’m talking about, “rock stars” like Karim Rashid, Marcel Wanders, Marc Newson…there are many, but I’ll stick to the obvious as a courtesy; and I thought, “Who cares?” The work aside, (because I do loves me a little Marcel Wanders now and again), does anyone actually care about them? Like really care? It’s okay if you do, or your dad does, I’m just curious.
Sure, in their time Walter Dowrin Teague, Henry Dreyfus, etc., were essentially stars on the rise, but without access to the various platforms we have today. That said, I’m fairly certain we wouldn’t see the type of self-adulation from them that we see from others today; maybe a bit of shameless self-promotion, but hey that’s the world wide web of brand. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons so many of us long for ‘the good ole days.’
In Design This Day Teague wrote: “If these works should survive a thousand years, certainly the interest in the personalities which produced them will not.” Amen.
If you find yourself sitting on a fake horse with a strand of pearls, or becoming a gross characterization of yourself, you got a problem. Calm down. Get off your product, literally, and spend some time in front of the mirror. And while you’re at it, resist the urge to admire your reflection, it’s time for a lil soul searching.