Dead Blogging ‘A Century of Style’ at MassArt

Well the Missus and I trundled over to MassArt yesterday to catch A Century of Style: Masterworks of Poster Design (through December 3) at the Paine Gallery and, say, it was swell.

From the website:

A Century of Style: Masterworks of Poster Design spans the breadth of the art poster’s development, from the emergence of the international poster scene in the 1890s; through the rapid avedon-lennondevelopment of the Art Nouveau, Machine Age, and Art Deco styles; and on to the resurgence of the contemporary poster. Exploring travel and leisure, food and beverage, and fashion and entertainment, the graphic works on view include those by prominent artists Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Herbert Matter, Ludwig Hohlwein, Roger Broders, and A. M. Cassandre, among many others. These colorful and vibrant lithographs span 100 years, originate from over a dozen countries, and have been selected by Robert Bachelder from his remarkable collection of vintage posters.

The John Lennon poster above, by the way, was created by Richard Avedon. There’s also this classic Milton Glaser image:




But the best of the 120 works on display are the European posters from the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s promoting fashion, travel, and sport.

Such as:









Definitely worth the trip.

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Oh, My! The Grey Lady Opens the Kimono All the Way

As the eyeverting staff has noted on several occasions, the New York Times has gradually become more – ahem – adventurous in the images it’s willing to publish.

There was, for example, this ulp-skirt image in a Louis Vuitton ad a couple of years ago.




Then last year the Times ran this full-frontal ad for a Robert Rauschenberg exhibit at Pace Gallery.




Now comes this Gagosian Gallery ad in yesterday’s Times.




Zowee, as Osgood Fielding III said in Some Like It Hot.

Of course, we love Amedeo Modigliani (John Currin, on the other hand, is a bit of a freak). But, man, talk about a sign o’ the Times . . .

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MFA Says Security Guards Have No Beef in Contract Tussle

As you splendid readers might recall, on Monday the hardworking staff detailed the ongoing dustup between the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum Independent Security Union over a new contract and what the union says are irresponsible personnel cuts.

Exhibit A: This flyer union members have been handing out in front of the museum.




It was sort of a jump ball with just that to go by, so we asked each group for a response.

And here’s what we got yesterday from the MFA’s Katie Getchell:

Good afternoon,

Thank you for contacting me. I write to assure you that I share your concerns for the Museum and our staff.

At a membership vote on June 21, the Museum Independent Security Union (MISU) rejected the MFA’s offer of a new contract. The MFA’s proposal includes a 12 percent wage increase (3% annually for the period from January 3, 2016 through June 30, 2019) and a competitive benefits package. The Museum has negotiated in good faith for a year and is disappointed that the MISU has not accepted this offer. While no agreement has been reached on a new contract, we expect that the guards will continue to work without one, as they have been since their last contract expired on March 31, 2016.

In order to align security measures with current Museum operations, a new schedule for the guards was implemented in January. This has not resulted in, nor does the MFA contemplate, a reduction in the number of guards. Guard coverage in the galleries has been maintained, and in many cases, improved. The MFA has always utilized a combination of staff and technology to ensure the safety of the Museum and its community.

Again, thank you for reaching out about this important matter.

Kind regards,

Katie Getchell
Chief Brand Officer, Deputy Director
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

We’ve yet to receive a detailed response from the MISU, but we are sending them the MFA’s statement.

As always, we’ll keep you posted.

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MFA = Many Fondled Artworks? That’s What Union Says

Well the Missus and I trundled over to the Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday and what did we find at the Huntington Avenue entrance but union members with picket signs calling for a new contract and restoration of union security guards, whose ranks have allegedly been depleted during the past three years.

Said union members presented us with this flyer.




So the hardtrundling staff went to the Museum Independent Security Union’s Facebook page and found stuff like this latest post.


Not the most sophisticated critique you’ll ever see. (And, as you might have noticed, almost five months old.)

Then again, here’s another wrinkle, from a Nonprofit Quarterly piece last December.

Guards at Boston Museum of Fine Arts Protest More “Militarized” Role


For the past three weeks, guards who usually serve to protect the treasures of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) have instead been walking the pavement outside. Members of the Museum Independent Security Union (MISU) object to changes that museum officials want to make to reduce flexible scheduling and the coverage they’ve provided inside the galleries to assist patrons and protect the art. According to this week, MISU president Evan Henderson explained the guards’ position saying the proposed changes are “pushing guards out of their positions,” and would “reportedly be less focused on providing artwork protection and guest support within the galleries, and require them to cover shifts in areas of the museum like the attic, offices, or outdoors.”

Henderson was quoted in the Boston Globe saying, “They want us to be more like unlicensed cops, in which we’ll be more militarized…. We’ll be doing, like, drills in the morning. They want us to not focus on the artwork and be able to fight things like active shooters.”

That Globe piece also included this:

[A]ccording to Steve Keller, a museum security consultant with Architect’s Security Group in Florida, the MFA is in the forefront of a broader trend among museums to adopt technologically advanced security systems. Keller, who said he was briefed on the MFA’s security system at a conference this year at the Smithsonian, said the museum uses a predictive video monitoring system that incorporates ceiling-mounted cameras and video analytics to sound an alarm before a person actually touches an artwork.

“The MFA has one of the largest of these systems,” he said. “They’re doing an amazing job.”

The union flyer, however, insists that’s not true.


We’re trying to contact the MISU folks and the MFA to get more info. As always, we’ll keep you posted.

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This Is the Greatest German Word Ever

German words are a hoot. So many of them are like little balls of aluminum foil all jammed together.

But you can have your schadenfreude and your schlimmbesserung – we’ll take this beauty from Thursday’s Wall Street Journal A-Hed.

Here’s a Presidential Election That Actually Is Coming Unglued

Austria postpones vote over faulty envelopes; ‘half of Europe is laughing’

VIENNA—Austria’s politics are coming unstuck. Or more precisely, unglued.

hc-gu668_sobotk_g_20160913173018Special envelopes designed to hold mail-in ballots for the Oct. 2 runoff presidential election are rimmed with a glue that should seal them tight. But it is mysteriously malfunctioning, and that has provoked a crisis, which in the words of one TV anchor is leading to a “Bundespräsidentenwiederholungswahlverschiebung”—the postponement of the rerun of the presidential election.

Excellent! Bundespräsidentenwiederholungswahlverschiebung is now the hardwonking staff’s favorite word.

Yes yes, we know – Austria is not Germany. But check this out:

Newspapers have dubbed it Gluegate, the Glue Glitch and the Glue Crisis. For embarrassed Austrians, the one consolation is that the glue came from Germany.


P.S. The above is just one more example of why the Wall Street Journal is a great newspaper and entirely worthy of your desert island consideration.

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Civilians Who Run Full-Page Ads in the New York Times (Libertarian Presidential Candidate Edition)

From our Late to the Third Party desk

In this forever series that features people with all those dollars and no sense, the adtracking staff has seen some deeply quixotic efforts to move – and move to action – New York Times readers.

(We think immediately of Yoko Ono’s numerous just-set-your-money-on-fire WAR IS OVER! If You Want It ads, or the Dump Trump ad Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick ran in July.)

Now comes Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson, who has taken delusional to a whole new level with this full-page ad in Wednesday’s New York Times.




You can read the whole Open Letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates here, but this is the gotta be nuts graf:

We have done the work required to appear on the ballot in all 50 states and because we are polling in double digits in the majority of those states, we respectfully propose the following: Put a third podium on the stage for the debate scheduled on September 26th. Allow us to make our case to the American people. If, in the polls that follow, we fail to meet that 15% standard, we’ll make no further efforts for inclusion in the subsequent debates

Sorry to break the news to you, boys, but that’s gone over like the metric system.

Because while 62% of voters might want Johnson in the presidential debates, only about one-sixth of them want him in the Oval Office. So Johnson/Weld 2016 just burned over $100,000 for . . . nothing.

Hey, that’s how the system works.

Then again, as Yoko Ono might say, THE SYSTEM IS OVER! If You Want It.

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WSJ’s Terry Teachout Totally Loves Boston’s Lyric Stage

As the playgoing staff has previously noted, Wall Street Journal theater critic Terry Teachout has a thing for Boston’s Lyric Stage Company.

Start with this rave for Light Up the Sky last year: “[F]luffy, funny and performed with limitless panache by a choice ensemble cast whose nimble members never let a punch line go unpunched.

Then Teachout fairly swooned over the Lyric’s production of My Fair Lady. And with good reason.



Now comes Teachout’s review of the Lyric Stage’s current production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company (through October 9).

Serious Sondheim


The best thing that ever happened to Stephen Sondheim (other than being born a genius) was the advent of the scaled-down revivals that have made it possible in recent years for ambitious regional theater companies to mount his complex musicals without busting their budgets beyond hope of repair. Not only screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-11-47-59-pmare they introducing his shows to a generation of viewers too young to have seen the original Broadway productions, but the best of them have changed the way that older viewers see those shows. No sooner do you strip away the big-budget trappings than it becomes evident that Mr. Sondheim’s musicals have far more in common with the hard-edged life studies of Edward Albee and Tennessee Williams than with “My Fair Lady” or “South Pacific.” To see the Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s small-scale revival of “Company,” directed with comprehensive understanding by Spiro Veloudos, is to come away with a much clearer sense of just how serious Sondheim and his collaborators are—and how unnervingly close to the emotional knuckle “Company” continues to cut 46 years after it was first seen on Broadway.

Here’s a look behind the scenes with the always fabulous costume designer Rafael Jaen.



(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, the playgoing staff has never regarded “Company” as one of Sondheim’s more appealing efforts. Then again, Terry Teachout is a lot smarter than we are.

So go already.

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Donald Trump Is Our First Cubist Presidential Candidate (Because He’s on Every Side of Every Issue)

Seriously, could Donald Trump be any more scattered in his policy positions?

Handy clip ‘n’ save graphic, compliments of Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury.




Now come the latest examples of Trump’s Fractured Fairy Tales.

Exhibit A (via Mediaite), after Trump has resolutely refused to release his tax return.

Trump Revealed on O’Reilly That His ‘Audit’ Excuse for Not Releasing Tax Returns is a Fib


Watch this clip from last night’s O’Reilly Factor. Watch it right now!

Well, okay, before you do that, reacquaint yourself with the fact that Donald Trump is the only presidential candidate since Watergate to ever refuse to release his tax returns. Bring to mind once more that his excuse has long been that he’s under audit and that even the IRS said that isn’t true. Recall that he just continues to insist that this audit is supposedly keeping him from releasing the tax returns and that once it is over, he’ll totally release them.

Except . . . “if [Hillary Clinton] would just release the 33,000 emails that are lost, he would release his tax returns ‘immediately.’”

So all that audit stuff goes away if Clinton sets herself on fire?

Okay then.

Exhibit B (via The Hill), after several weeks of Trump flopping around like a sea bass over his illegal immigration position.

Trump says he’d be OK with illegal immigrants serving in military


During a military-themed forum on NBC News Wednesday night, the GOP presidential nominee was asked whether he believes that an undocumented person who wants to serve in the U.S. armed forces deserves to stay in the country legally.

“I think when you serve in the armed forces, that’s a very special situation and I could see myself working that out, absolutely,” Trump replied.

Wait, what?

Mr. Deportation Force will exempt illegal immigrants in the armed forces?

What the hell is going on here?

That’s exactly the question people in the early 20th Century were asking when Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque were creating the likes of these:



Fun fact to know and tell, via MoMA: “Picasso and Braque worked so closely together that many people had trouble distinguishing between their paintings. The two artists often left signatures off their canvases, signing the back rather than the front, in order to encourage confusion.”

Encourage confusion?

Now you’re talking Donald Trump’s language.

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Native Advertising Report: Bad News/Worse News Edition

In Marshall McLuhan’s landmark work The Medium Is the Massage (it was a printer’s typo he liked so much he stuck with it), the legendary media guru noted that “Real news is bad news – bad news about somebody, or bad news for somebody.”

Enter the latest reports about native advertising, which are bad news for just about everybody – journalists, publishers, and consumers.

Start with . . .

Bad News for Journalists

The hardtracking staff has chronicled multiple instances of publications shanghaiing editorial staffs into creating what’s often called “brand journalism.” But Greg Dool’s piece in Folio reveals just how rampant the practice has become.

Majority of Publishers Use Their Own Editorial Staffs to Produce Native Ads

Native advertising is only the latest new skill set taken on by editors in the digital age.

So, you’re a reporter. Can you code?

Just exactly what it means to be a magazine journalist in the 21st century is a question that seems to be posed quite often in this industry, and no two answers are generally the same. Regardless of who you ask though, one universal truth permeates: you need to wear a lot of hats . . .

Journalists need to be tech-savvy, capable of thinking across platforms, well-versed in social media and video editing, with the ability to fact check and copy edit on the fly.

Now, add to the list native advertising production.

A study from FIPP and the Native Advertising Institute found that over two-thirds of magazine publishers employ their own editorial staffs to produce native ads.

Helpful chart:




Drive us nuts graf:

When asked to name what they considered the biggest threat to native advertising, respondents cited a “lack of seperation [sic] of the editorial and the commercial side” as the number one concern.

Wait, what?

The “lack of seperation” is the whole point of native advertising, which is to create marketing material that masquerades as editorial content. So that leads to this: “11 percent of respondents to the survey say they don’t label native advertising, although another 24 percent report marking native ads with only ‘a different look and feel.’”

In other words, ads in sheep’s clothing.

Problem is, marketers are having trouble counting those sheep. Which is . . .

Bad News for Publishers

From Max Willens at Digiday . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.

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When a Nation Forgets Its Own Clichés (‘Drudge Up’ Edition)

From our That’s Just Sad desk

Every now and again the headscratching staff chronicles the mangled phrases of the differently clichéd among us and, man, they are legion.

So here’s another roll call, dating back 12 months.

• Last August, WBZ reported that a local soldier had “paid the ultimate sacrifice” in Iraq. Sadly, he either made the ultimate sacrifice or paid the ultimate price. Sadly.

• On a PBS Newshour segment last September about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s exit from the GOP presidential primary, anchor Gwen Ifill asked a chin-stroker, “Was it politics, was it money, or was it . . . the tail . . . chasing the elephant?”

Roll your own here: Was it the tail wagging the elephant or the elephant chasing its tail? Either way, it feels kind of awkward.

• On NPR’s All Things Considered last September, New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks said of eventual GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump “the bubble has come out of his balloon.”

Memo to David Brooks: Neither has Trump’s bubble burst, nor has the air come out of his balloon.  At least not yet.

•  In Politico last September, a “prominent swing-state DNC [Democratic National Committee] member” downplayed any prospect of a surge in presidential primary debates for former Maryland governor and short-lived Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley.

“There’s not a hue and cry for more debates . . . I have not heard neither hide nor hair since [O’Malley’s speech in] Minneapolis.”

Actually, he would have seen neither hide nor hair, but why get technical about it.

• Also on the PBS Newshour – this time in December – a story about floods in the Midwest had an observer saying “hands off to the community for dealing with a tough situation.” Hats, also, off to the community, yes? Give them a hand.

• From Politico’s 2016 Blast in January: “Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon, asked on CNN’s ‘New Day’ whether the email reports were taking a toll on Clinton, remarked, ‘No, I think that Republicans are continuing to try to trumpet up and resurface these allegations for the purposes of hurting her campaign.'”

Take your pick, Mr. Fallon: The Republicans were continuing to either trumpet the allegations or trump them up.  Then again, in politics you can often have it both ways.

• From an NPR piece last March about a tax-dodger who declared himself a “sovereign citizen” of California and set up a “sovereign trust” to avoid paying taxes (to no avail in the end): “As he conceded, eventually ‘you have buckle up to the bar and pay your taxes.'”

Sorry, sir – you either belly up to the bar, or you buckle down and pay your taxes, sovereign citizen or no.

• Talking about Jon Stewart commenting on Election 2016, HBO chief Richard Plepler told the Boston Globe’s Matthew Gilbert this past May, “I think he’s clamoring at the bit to do something that he knows is going to stand out.”

Now, we don’t personally know Jon Stewart, but we’re guessing that he’s either clamoring to do something, or champing/chomping at the bit to do it. Just guessing.

• Also in May, MediaPost featured this headline: Clinton Edges Out Win In Kentucky, Sanders Picks Up Oregon.

Not to get technical about it, but Hillary Clinton either eked out a win or edged Bernie Sanders. Whichever, she beat him.

• From a Politico piece in June about former Secretary of State James Baker’s reaction to the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency:

“I won’t get my panties in a wedge because of what I am hearing from the political candidates,” said Baker, who met with Trump in Washington last month.

As far as the hardsearching staff can tell, various and sundry people get their panties in a wad, or get their panties in a bunch, but only James Baker gets them in a wedge.

• Brad Reed’s Raw Story piece earlier this month, headlined “Here are the top 7 times Katrina Pierson mutilated logic and melted fact checkers’ brains,” included this doozie from Donald Trump’s psychedelic spokeswoman:

1.) Pierson says that America wasn’t even in Afghanistan until Obama’s presidency.

Pierson drew hackles from the entire internet last week when she declared that, “We weren’t even in Afghanistan by this time, Barack Obama went into Afghanistan, creating another problem.”

In the real world, of course, you either raise hackles or draw heckles. Then again, Katrina Pierson doesn’t live in the real world.

• At Mediaite last week, there was a post about comedian Eric Andre that ended this way: “Stick around until the end to hear him drudge up some old Bill O’Reilly drama too . . . ”

We think that should actually be dredge up, but maybe not.

• In a Boston Globe piece last week about racial tensions at a Malden senior center over – of all things – ping pong, local city councilor Debbie DeMaria said, “I think for the old guard, some of them have their noses a little broken: ‘What are you doing, this is my community.’”

That used to be noses out of joint, but maybe things have changed in Malden.

• During the August 25 edition of ABC’s Powerhouse Politics podcast, uber-Trumpkin Ann Coulter (author of In Trump We Trust) said this after Trump dumped his hardline stance on illegal immigration: “Donald Trump is hands and shoulders better than any other Republican on immigration.”

Surely Ms. Coulter meant either hands-down better or head and shoulders above, but the hands thing is pretty funny.

And yet – as Trump himself would say – SAD!

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