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January 21, 2010

My Page – New Media, Social Media, Digital Media Community and Jobs

Filed under: Motivation — Tags: — Gulcan Bozkurt @ 4:55 pm

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January 14, 2010

Top 10 Common Faults In Human Thought – New Media, Social Media, Digital Media Community and Jobs

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January 13, 2010

History of Aggressive Design Magazines

Neue Grafik, September 1958

Neue Grafik, September 1958

Graphic design evolved during the late nineteenth century from a sideline of the printing industry into an autonomous field with its own lore, icons and personalities. The missing link in this evolutionary process is trade magazines. Initially they established professional standards for printing, typesetting and bookbinding, yet viewed ornamental design as ephemeral. However, by the turn of the century, when businesses demanded printers provide more sophisticated layout and typography, trade magazine editors were forced to analyze and critique new advances. These magazines did not just reflexively report the current trends instead some aggressively codified key methods and mannerisms that in turn defined a profession.
Trade periodicals also cautiously tweaked the status quo. Indeed most of the early ones were neutral but occasionally contained articles about novel design mannerisms. In the late 1890s The Inland Printer introduced a variant of French Art Nouveau to America and this unconventional curvilinear style challenged accepted taste while making posters and handbills more eye-catching. The Inland Printer became the clarion for American Art Nouveau in the same way that a hundred years later Emigre was the clarion for digital post-modernism.

At the turn of the century, European art — Impressionism, Expressionism, and later Cubism — influenced the design of letterforms and illustrations. Late nineteenth century poster designers in France, Germany, and England adopted modern concepts of space, composition, perspective and color.

Maitres de l’Affiche (1895-1900) was the first periodical devoted to late Nineteenth Century French poster art. With portfolios generously filled with poster miniatures printed in color on one side of each page, Maitres was a model of how trade magazines could integrate art, commerce and aesthetics into a single editorial entity. Consequently, the advertising poster was an ideal theme on which to build a trade magazine because it integrated art and craft, which could elicit stories about type, image and message applicable to all graphic design genres. Early Twentieth Century magazines, such as The Poster, which published separate editions in England and The United States, sprang up as the advertising industry became a more integral part of commerce. Although most were not as conscientious about the quality of their reproductions as Maitres, there was one magazine, the Berlin-based Das Plakat (The Poster), which given its focus on conventional and avant garde sensibilities emerged as a more historically influential review than any of the others.
Das Plakat, September 1921

Das Plakat, September 192

Founded in 1910 by Hans Josef Sachs, a chemist by training, dentist by profession and poster collector by preference, Das Plakat was the official journal of the Verein der Plakat Freunde (The Society for Friends of the Poster). Its purpose was to champion art poster collecting, increase scholarship among amateurs and professionals and promote the advantages of poster art to would-be clients. In the process it covered the poster scene by raising aesthetic, cultural and legal issues too. As well a survey of significant German (and ultimately international) work, the magazine addressed plagiarism and originality, design in the service of politics, propaganda and representation versus abstraction, raising the discourse of poster art from purely trade to cultural. Through the years its influence on designers increased, so did its circulation from an initial print run of 200 copies to over 10,000.

Sachs was inspired by a progressive group of German advertising artists known as the Berliner Plakat who practiced a new style called the sachplakat (object poster) that transformed the bold linearity of German Jugenstil into a reductive graphic language. In 1906 Lucian Bernhard invented this method with his poster for Priester Matches showing only two large wooded matches on a solid maroon background. This poster became the hallmark of sachplakat, characterized by the rejection of ornament in favor of an unambiguous focal image of the product with the only the brand-name as headline. Sachplakat monumentalized the ordinary, whether a pair of matches, typewriter, shoes or light bulb.

During World War I Das Plakat featured articles on the design of war bonds, stamps and posters produced by allied and belligerent nations. After the war, Sachs published a supplement exclusively devoted to political posters and turned the magazine’s attention towards media other than posters, such as trademarks and typefaces, which made it even more professionally oriented than when it began.

Sachs acknowledged the European Modern avant garde but never wholeheartedly embraced its more radical tendencies. Yet by Das Plakat’s demise in 1921 commercial artists and typographers were indeed influenced by Futurism, DeStijl, Constructivism and Dada and some of the keepers of tradition gradually began to apply these methods to their quotidian work. Nonetheless, it took an acute visionary to truly see how avant garde ideas could be efficiently applied to commerce. It was not until 1925 that a mainstream printing and design trade magazine, Typographische Mitteilungen, the monthly organ of the German Printer’s Association in Leipzig, shocked the professional nervous system by sanctioning the most radical of approaches.

Under the guest editorship of the typographic prodigy Jan Tschichold, Typographische Mitteilungen showcased graphic design and typography from the Bauhaus, DeStijl and Constructivism as functional for use among the widespread profession. It was the first time that the German printing and graphics industry was offered a full dose of type and layout, later known as The New Typography, produced by what was largely considered, if considered in mainstream circles at all, to be an aesthetic fringe with socialist political implications.

Typographiche Mitteilungen, 1915

Typographiche Mitteilungen, 1915

Typographiche Mitteilungen, October 1925 , art directed by Jan Tschichold

Typographiche Mitteilungen, October 1925 , art directed by Jan Tschichold

Nonetheless Typographische Mitteilungen, founded in 1903, did not intend to radicalize design. The magazine’s regular editorial policy was fairly restrained when it came to promoting experimental work and showed little regard for radical schools or movements. The magazine’s basic style menu included conventional German Black Letter typography with occasional moderne examples of letterheads, logos and book covers sprinkled through its monthly issues. While Typographische Mitteilungen’s responsibility was to report on the status quo it nonetheless allowed Tschichold an unprecedented opportunity in his issue titled “Elementary Typography” to showcase the form-givers, El Lissitzky, Kurt Schwitters, Herbert Bayer, Max Burchartz, among others and totally redesign the entire format and masthead of the magazine in their manner.

Tschichold’s October 1925 issue was a kind of October revolution of its own right, given the strong dose of avant garde dissonance and asymmetry injected into the otherwise straight-laced, central-axis commercial advertising of the time. Yet though Typographische Mitteilungen inadvertently made history, the very next month it returned to its regular staid layouts. Still the deed was done and it inspired other trade magazines of the period to be more open. In fact, German journals like Gebrauchsgraphik, Reklame and Archiv devoted considerable space to avant garde and avant garde-inspired approaches which effectively mainstreamed these ideas until the rise of Nazism in 1933 and its prohibitions against Modernism.

Gebrauchsgraphik, September 1930

Gebrauchsgraphik, September 1930

Gebrauchsgraphik, November 1931

Gebrauchsgraphik, November 1931

Of these assorted trade magazines the most cosmopolitan and far-reaching was Berlin based Gebrauchsgraphik, founded and edited by Dr. H.K. Frenzel in 1923 just as the chaos caused by devastating postwar economic inflation was causing severe privations. Gebrauchsgraphik was a bi-lingual (English and German) chronicle of “new” international graphic art styles and techniques, yet it was truly distinguished by the guiding editorial notion that advertising art was a force for good in the world. Frenzel held the idealistic belief that commercial art educated the public because “He saw advertising as the great mediator between peoples, the facilitator of world understanding and through that understanding, world peace,” Virginia Smith explains in The Funny Little Man. Frenzel was a free thinker and Gebrauchsgraphik had no direct or subordinate ties to any ideological, political or philosophical movements.

Despite his social idealism, Frenzel was professionally pragmatic enough to balance traditional and progressive aspects of contemporary design in his magazine. He also understood the psychology of the mass mind, knowing that stimulation would be achieved through novel, sometimes challenging visual approaches. So he used the Bauhaus ideal as a model for integrating graphic and other design disciplines into one overarching practice and promoted designers who exemplified this ideal, like Herbert Bayer who was showcased in Gebrauchsgraphik’s portfolios and on covers. However, compared to Jan Tchichold’s Typographische Mitteilungen, Frenzel’s magazine was a much more conservative graphic environment.

Frenzel’s advocacy for the new, stopped short of making Modern design himself. His magazine visually toed the line between what the public would find as acceptable or see as unacceptable experimental progressive principles regarding legibility. Perhaps for this reason Gebrauchsgraphik survived through the early years of the Third Reich more or less unscathed. Yet Nazi dictates ultimately transformed the magazine by forcing out unsanctioned “degenerate” Modern design. After Frenzel’s death in 1937 (purportedly a suicide) Gebrauchsgraphik’s new editors cautioned gebrauchsgraphikers to “avoid Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism and Futurism” thus severing those ties to the avant garde that Frenzel had proudly established.

In United States during the early Thirties avant garde graphic design was only promoted by the trade press once the dust had settled in Europe. England’s premier journal, Commercial Art (and later Art and Industry) were far ahead of America in its embrace of the avant garde and provided one of the earliest English language introductions to the Bauhaus and its affinities. In America during the twenties the advertising industry was surprisingly cautious about changing its time-tested methods of selling products through clever slogans, headlines and tag-lines, more so than images alone. Few American design pundits were so bold as to advocate advertising or commercial art as utopian — it was realistically viewed as a capitalist tool. Nonetheless, two magazines that were often favorably compared to Gebrauchsgraphik, were Advertising Arts and PM (later renamed AD). These two, advanced the practice of progressive graphic design which had been brought to America, in part, by émigré European designers and influenced by native born Modernists.

Advertising Arts, January 1932

Advertising Arts, January 1932

Advertising Arts, May 1934

Advertising Arts, May 1934

The premiere issue of Advertising Arts on January 8,1930 was the first mainstream attempt to integrate Modern art into an admittedly antiquated commercial culture. Although Dada and Surrealist art journals had published in the United States in the twenties, this perfect bound, monthly supplement of the weekly trade magazine Advertising and Selling, offered ways to institute design programs in everyday practice in a way that was noted as “adopted by radicals.” The magazine became a vortex for progressive American graphic and the newly christened field of industrial design. Yet Advertising Arts is not to be confused with the radical European design manifestoes that introduced The New Typography. The modernistic design (i.e. Modernism with the edges dulled) proffered in its pages as a tool of the capitalist concept known as style obsolescence. As devised by advertising man Earnest Elmo Calkins, programmed obsolescence was a means of exploiting “modern art” to encourage consumers to “move the goods” and sell, sell, sell.

Advertising Arts debuted during the throes of the Great Depression when the economy was at its nadir and desperation was at its zenith. Design was a weapon in the war against stagnation. Editors Frederick C. Kendall and Ruth Fleischer had a mission — to encourage innovation while celebrating advertising designers who manipulated consumers to consume. So rather than publish the usual diet of trade gossip and technical notices, Kendall and Fleischer made their magazine into a blueprint for the marketing of modernity. Its writers, including influential graphic and industrial artists such as Lucian Bernhard, Rene Clark Clarence P. Hornung, Paul Hollister, Norman Bel Geddes and Rockwell Kent, whom passionately advocated contemporary art as industry’s foremost savior. In “Modern Layouts Must Sell Rather Than Startle” author Frank H. Young summed up Advertising Arts’ ethos this way, “Daring originality in the use of new forms, new patterns, new methods of organization and bizarre color effects is the keynote of modern layout and is achieving the startling results we see today.” At the same time, Advertising Arts also cautioned against flagrant excess: “In some instances enthusiasm for modernism has overshadowed good judgment and the all-import selling message is completely destroyed,” continued Young. The design of the magazine itself lived up to his words for each issue had a striking cover by a contemporary designer, illustrator or photographer that signaled a rejection of the old.

Advertising Arts promulgated a uniquely American design style called Streamline. Compared to the elegant austerity of the Bauhaus, Streamline was an bluntly futuristic mannerism based on sleek aerodynamic design born of science and technology that included ornamental flourishes symbolizing speed, in contrast to the right angles of European modernism. Planes, trains and cars were given the swooped-back appearance that both symbolized and physically accelerated velocity. Consequently, type and image were designed to echo that sensibility. The airbrush was the graphic medium of choice and all futuristic visual conceits, practical or symbolic, were encouraged.

PM, May 1932, cover by Paul Rand

PM, May 1932, cover by Paul Rand

PM, May 1937, cover by Lester Beall

PM, May 1937, cover by Lester Beall

PM (Production Manager) later re-christened AD (Art Director), did not advocate the Streamline aesthetic with the same fervency as Advertising Arts but did champion both Modern and modernistic methods. Founded in 1934 by Dr. Robert Leslie, a medical doctor by training, type aficionado by choice and co-founder of the Composing Room Inc, a leading New York type house, PM was a trade magazine imbued with missionary zeal. Leslie and co-editor Percy Seitlin committed to explore design with a blind eye towards style or ideology and gave progressive designers a platform that underscored the viability of The New Typography in American advertising and graphic design. The small 6” x 8” bi-monthly journal explored a variety of print media, covered industry news and often celebrated the virtues of asymmetric typography and design. It was also the first American journal to showcase the emigres Herbert Bayer, Will Burtin, Gustav Jensen, Joseph Binder, M. F. Agha, as well as native-grown Moderns Lester Beall, Joseph Sinel, E. McKnight Kauffer and Paul Rand. Like Das Plakat, et al, PM/AD’s covers were each original and unique. Kauffer’s, for example, was characteristically cubistic. Bayer’s was objective, and Rand’s was playfully modern. Matthew Leibowitz’s prefigured new wave in its Dada-inspired juxtaposition of discordant decorative old wood types.

Three years after starting PM Leslie opened a small room in The Composing Room office as the PM Gallery, the first exhibition space in New York seriously devoted to graphic design and typography. The magazine and gallery had a symbiotic relationship; often a feature in the magazine would lead to an exhibition in the gallery or vice versa. Thanks to these additional events the magazine’s following grew and with it a lively appreciation for the avant garde that by 1942 was effectively adopted by mainstream businesses.

By the April/May 1942 issue, World War II was in full throttle, the editors ran this solemn note: “AD is such a small segment of this wartime world that it is almost with embarrassment and certainly with humility, that we announce the suspension of its publication…for the duration. The reasons are easy to understand: shortage of men and materials, shrinkage of the advertising business whose professional workers AD has served, and all-out digging in for Victory.” The magazine did not resume after the war but did leave a documentary record of how American and European designers forged a universal design language in the service of business. World War II ended the idealistic stage of avant garde design, but PM/AD helped to define a commercial stage that continued well into the fifties.

Graphis, 1967

Graphis, 1967

After World War II graphic design was intensely covered by dozens of trade magazines published in countries where industry and design were integral bedfellows. But the most significant of the postwar graphic design clarions was Graphis. This Zurich-based, multi-lingual, international magazine was founded in 1946 by poster designer Walter Herdeg and was an outlet for iconoclastic designers and illustrators from around the world, especially Soviet Eastern European countries, which he believed was the seat of a new underground avant garde. Graphis was a newly opened window on the design world’s most ambitious emerging movements and individuals. In addition there was a handful of significant design and typography magazines published from the late forties through the early fifties that emphasized art, commerce and indigenous trends — these included: Word & Image in England, Print and CA in the United States and Graphik and Nouvum Gebrauchsgraphik in West Germany. But the most ground-breaking was Portfolio (from 1949-1951), which truly celebrated interdisciplinary design serving as a direct link to postwar avant garde thinking.

Edited for three issues by Frank Zachary and designed by Alexey Brodovitch, Portfolio defined a late-Modern sensibility that viewed the concept of good design as weaving throughout culture as a whole. Portfolio leveled the field between high and low art and so doing changed the fundamental definition of a trade journal. Portfolio was not merely a professional organ but a mainstream design magazine with its roots firmly planted in culture. Much has been written about Portfolio, suffice it to say, it markedly influenced the fifties and sixties magazines Neue Grafik in Switzerland, Typographica in England and even U&lc in the U.S. which are the forbears of Emigre, Eye and Baseline today.

Portfolio, 1950, designed by Alexey Brodovitch, film strips by Charles and Ray Eames

Portfolio, 1950, designed by Alexey Brodovitch, film strips by Charles and Ray Eames


Early graphic design trade magazines are missing links in the development of styles, propagation of standards and canonization of the profession. Although current periodicals have come a long way since the late Nineteenth Century periodicals, the common editorial mandate to analyze, critique, and showcase contemporary and avant garde achievement is what makes these journals integral to graphic design history.

Old Time Radio Classics

November 8, 2009

Boards >> Screening Room >> Guinness – Bring It To Life

Filed under: Human — Gulcan Bozkurt @ 6:10 pm

Boards >> Screening Room >> Guinness – Bring It To Life

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Boards >> Screening Room >> Vaseline – The Making Of: Amazing Moisture

Filed under: Human — Gulcan Bozkurt @ 6:04 pm

Boards >> Screening Room >> Vaseline – The Making Of: Amazing Moisture

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Top 10: Why the World Won’t End : Discovery Space : Discovery Channel

Filed under: Human — Gulcan Bozkurt @ 5:49 pm

Top 10: Why the World Won’t End : Discovery Space : Discovery Channel

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June 5, 2009

Prodigy New Album and Video

Filed under: music — Tags: , — Gulcan Bozkurt @ 3:07 pm

The Prodigy Video

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Psychological (“personality”) Types

Filed under: psychologic — Tags: , , , , , — Gulcan Bozkurt @ 11:50 am

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According to Jung’s theory of Psychological Types we are all different in fundamental ways. One’s ability to process different information is limited by their particular type. These types are sixteen.

People can be either Extroverts or Introverts, depending on the direction of their activity; Thinking, Feeling, Sensing, Intuitive, according to their own information pathways; Judging or Perceiving, depending on the method in which they process received information.

Extroverts vs. Introverts

Extroverts are directed towards the objective world whereas Introverts are directed towards the subjective world. The most common differences between Extroverts and Introverts are shown below:

Extroverts

  • are interested in what is happening around them

  • are open and often talkative

  • compare their own opinions with the opinions of others

  • like action and initiative

  • easily make new friends or adapt to a new group

  • say what they think

  • are interested in new people

  • easily break unwanted relations

Introverts

  • are interested in their own thoughts and feelings

  • need to have own territory

  • often appear reserved, quiet and thoughtful

  • usually do not have many friends

  • have difficulties in making new contacts

  • like concentration and quiet

  • do not like unexpected visits and therefore do not make them

  • work well alone


Sensing vs. Intuition

Sensing is an ability to deal with information on the basis of its physical qualities and its affection by other information. Intuition is an ability to deal with the information on the basis of its hidden potential and its possible existence. The most common differences between Sensing and Intuitive types are shown below:

Sensing types

  • see everyone and sense everything

  • live in the here and now

  • quickly adapt to any situation

  • like pleasures based on physical sensation

  • are practical and active

  • are realistic and self-confident

Intuitive types

  • are mostly in the past or in the future

  • worry about the future more than the present

  • are interested in everything new and unusual

  • do not like routine

  • are attracted more to the theory than the practice

  • often have doubts


Thinking vs. Feeling

Thinking is an ability to deal with information on the basis of its structure and its function. Feeling is an ability to deal with information on the basis of its initial energetic condition and its interactions. The most common differences between Thinking and Feeling type are shown below:

Thinking types

  • are interested in systems, structures, patterns

  • expose everything to logical analysis

  • are relatively cold and unemotional

  • evaluate things by intellect and right or wrong

  • have difficulties talking about feelings

  • do not like to clear up arguments or quarrels

Feeling types

  • are interested in people and their feelings

  • easily pass their own moods to others

  • pay great attention to love and passion

  • evaluate things by ethics and good or bad

  • can be touchy or use emotional manipulation

  • often give compliments to please people


Perceiving vs. Judging

Perceiving types are motivated into activity by the changes in a situation. Judging types are motivated into activity by their decisions resulting from the changes in a situation. The most common differences between Perceiving and Judging types are shown below:

Perceiving types

  • act impulsively following the situation

  • can start many things at once without finishing them properly

  • prefer to have freedom from obligations

  • are curious and like a fresh look at things

  • work productivity depends on their mood

  • often act without any preparation

Judging types

  • do not like to leave unanswered questions

  • plan work ahead and tend to finish it

  • do not like to change their decisions

  • have relatively stable workability

  • easily follow rules and discipline


These four opposite pairs of preferences define eight different ways of dealing with information, which in turn result in sixteen Psychological Types:

ENTp, ISFp, ESFj, INTj, ENFj, ISTj, ESTp, INFp, ESFp, INTp, ENTj, ISFj, ESTj, INFj, ENFp and ISTp, where E – Extrovert, I – Introvert, S – Sensing, N – Intuitive, T – Thinking, F – Feeling, j – Judging, p – Perceiving. So, ENTp for example would be Extrovert, Intuitive, Thinking and Perceiving type.

March 18, 2009

Optimism and Jitters at Art Fair in Europe

Filed under: Art Fair in Europe, Human — Gulcan Bozkurt @ 1:03 pm

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No matter what the economic climate, art fairs are always a gamble for the exhibiting dealers. The cost of renting a booth, shipping precious artworks, insuring them and keeping a sales staff housed and fed in a foreign city can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Anthony Crichton-Stuart

Gabriel Metsu’s “Old Woman at a Meal” at the Maastricht fair.

W. M. Brady & Co.

Théodore Rousseau’s “Farm in Les Landes.”

So in these rough times it was with a good deal of jitters that the European Fine Art Fair — one of the world’s foremost art and antiques events — opened here with a preview on Thursday of a record 239 exhibitors from 15 countries.

It seemed like business as usual at this annual gathering, which runs through Sunday. For the party on Thursday a smartly dressed, multilingual crowd waited patiently to get through the doors of the cavernous Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Center. On view was about $1 billion worth of art and objects from ancient times to the 21st century, with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars for a 19th-century British photograph to about $30 million for a van Gogh landscape.

Dealers hope the fair can capitalize on Christie’s successful $483.8 million auction of art and decorative objects belonging to Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé, in Paris last month.

“The Saint Laurent sale certainly gave the market confidence,” said Richard L. Feigen, a New York dealer. “Still, there are pockets of liquidity, people who have money and are worried about the dollar, the euro, the sterling, and don’t know where to park their cash. So they buy art.”

The Saint Laurent sale’s effect on the fair could also be seen in the objects for sale. After such a landmark auction, works quickly surface, and it was no surprise to find a pair of German gold tazze (saucerlike objects on pedestals), at Galerie Neuse from Bremen, Germany. They were originally used to serve sweets, Achim Neuse, the gallery’s owner, said. He sold them to Mr. Saint Laurent and Mr. Bergé years ago and bought them back last month. He is asking about $879,000 for the pair.

While it is always difficult to gauge just how much business is done at any fair — dealers, after all, are masters of positive spin — there were a lot of relieved faces on Friday morning. At the opening Christophe Van de Weghe, a Belgian-born Manhattan dealer who was exhibiting here for the first time, had sold a 1982 Basquiat painting, “Untitled (Black Athlete),” that was the centerpiece of his booth. Depicting a full-length boxer with raised arms, it was snapped up by Laurence Graff, a London jeweler who also had a booth here, for $4.5 million.

A well-known Basquiat fanatic, Mr. Graff has bought other boxer images by him. In 2007 at Christie’s in New York, for instance, Mr. Graff bought “Sugar Ray Robinson,” another 1982 Basquiat, for $7.3 million.

It wasn’t just the painting but also the cost that clinched the deal. “My prices are attractive,” said Mr. Van de Weghe, who had also sold two Picasso drawings by Friday morning. “These paintings would have been a lot more expensive six months ago. It’s important to make people feel they are getting a deal.”

Sales did not come easily. “Everything we’ve sold was subject to more negotiations than last year,” said Angela Westwater, whose Sperone Westwater Gallery is in the meatpacking district of Manhattan. By Friday she had parted with works by the sculptor Evan Penny and the Dutch painter Jan Worst.

The economic crisis was felt here in less obvious ways too. Several dealers admitted that they were selling artworks for clients who were seriously in need of quick cash. “One person who got Madoff-ed gave us an important old-master painting to sell,” Mr. Feigen said, although he declined to identify the seller or the painting.

Karsten Greve, a dealer with spaces in Switzerland, Germany and France, was showing an exceptional suite of seven 1960s watercolors by Lucio Fontana priced at nearly $620,000 for the set. “I had sold them to an American collector who had lost money, so I bought them back,” Mr. Greve said. “I had always thought they would end up at the Museum of Modern Art.”

Noticeably absent were several big-name dealers who had pulled out. Among them were American galleries like Acquavella, Richard Gray and Barbara Mathes, as well as Leslie Waddington from London. Replacing them were names who had been on a waiting list for years.

“We wanted a larger European clientele,” said Mark Brady, a New York dealer who was new to the fair. Among the stars in his booth was Théodore Rousseau’s “Farm in Les Landes,” a luminous landscape from a set of three of the same size and format. “One is in the Frick, the other in the Museum der Bildenden Künste in Leipzig,” Mr. Brady said. “This is the only one left in private hands.” The three, which Rousseau began during the 1840s and ’50s, were documented in a letter. This painting was in a private Portuguese collection for more than 60 years, and Mr. Brady was asking $1.25 million for it.

People watching is always part of the fun of this fair. Talk was of top collectors who were spotted perusing the booths, including Sheik Saud bin Mohammed al-Thani of Qatar, the French financier Michel David-Weill and the New York real-estate developer Mark Fisch. While there were fewer American collectors than in years past, curators from museums like the Metropolitan in New York, J. Paul Getty in Los Angeles, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, could be seen walking the aisles.

This being the heart of old-master country, there was the usual array of 17th-century paintings, although not the blockbusters of years past. Among the most stunning canvases was “An Old Woman at a Meal,” by the Dutch Baroque painter Gabriel Metsu. It was being offered by Noortman Master Paintings (a subsidiary of Sotheby’s, which acquired the gallery in 2006). The interior, which depicts a woman in a simple white bonnet eating soup, was priced at $4.6 million.

“It came from a Dutch collection,” said Anthony Crichton-Stuart, a former head of Christie’s old-master painting department who recently joined Noortman. “Paintings by Metsu don’t come on the market often.”

Within the first 24 hours of the fair the painting had a red “sold” sticker beside it. While nobody at the gallery would confirm the buyer, talk among old-master dealers was that it was Ike van Otterloo, a collector and Boston financier.

Every year the fair tries to become more up-to-date to compete with Art Basel, the contemporary art fair held in Switzerland in June. This year there was a new section devoted to 20th-century design. There was also a lot more photography than before. Hans P. Kraus Jr., a New York photography dealer, was an addition. His booth featured seminal works like William Henry Fox Talbot’s “Ladder” (1844), one of his best known images, for $750,000, and Edward Steichen’s photograph of the back of a nude woman, “The Little Round Mirror,” from 1902 for $1.8 million.

“We’ve been waiting to get into this fair for five years,” Mr. Kraus said. “So we brought a cross section of things starting with Talbot and going through to the beginning of modern photography with Stieglitz and Steichen.”

By CAROL VOGEL

Apple Raises Its iPhone Ante

Filed under: Human, iPhone — Tags: — Gulcan Bozkurt @ 12:46 pm

Apple is making it easier for developers to create iPhone applications, which could increase its smartphone market share

0317_apple_town_hall

For the past two years makers of powerful, Internet-connected smartphones have been racing to respond to the innovations unleashed by Apple’s iPhone. While they’ve taken steps to narrow the gap, Apple may have just pulled further ahead. Apple (AAPL) is doing that through a series of capabilities unveiled on Mar. 17 that make it easier for software developers to create nifty iPhone applications. In a packed auditorium at Apple’s Cupertino (Calif.) campus, the company presented both a major update of its iPhone software and details of a software developer kit. The likely result is that Apple will further solidify its position as the platform of choice for software developers—and as a result, many consumers. In just eight months programmers have created 25,000 applications that are available on Apple’s online App Store. Of those programmers, 62% had never written anything for an Apple product. So far, consumers have downloaded more than 800 million of these apps, which include everything from games like Tetris to software that helps diabetes patients manage insulin levels. The wide range of apps is a major reason the iPhone quickly jumped to No. 3 in the cutthroat smartphone market. Playing Catch-Up to Apple Apps The App Store is also a key reason why rivals will have such a hard time closing Apple’s lead. In recent weeks companies including smartphone leader Nokia (NOK), BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM), and Microsoft (MSFT) have announced plans to open their own app stores. While the three companies have sold far more devices than Apple, which has sold 17 million iPhones and 14 million iPod Touches, their products are used mostly for making calls and sending e-mail. People flock to Apple for other kinds of programs, including browsing the Web. “This will make Apple’s big lead that much bigger,” says Trip Hawkins, CEO of Digital Chocolate, a maker of popular iPhone games. Many of the new capabilities address shortcomings with the current iPhone software. For the first time, iPhone owners will be able to cut and paste text or pictures between applications—say, to include in an e-mail a photo of a home for sale or restaurant meeting place. Users will be able to write e-mails in landscape mode, so the phone’s software-only keyboard is larger. IPhone software chief Scott Forstall said the company also made upgrades to its server farms so it can now reliably offer “push notification” every time a user gets an e-mail or an application update.

What’s more, the iPhone will increasingly be useful for social rather than solo activities, thanks to the addition of so-called peer-to-peer networking. IPhone owners will be able to automatically recognize and interact with others wirelessly, to play a game, share a contact, or even play a duet using software from Smule that lets the iPhone double as a flute or trombone. The company also announced plans that should expand the already vibrant market for iPhone accessories. Now, accessory makers will have an increased ability to make customized products. There will be one for taking blood pressure, together with an app that lets the user quickly get a reading, look at past results, or contact a doctor.

More Payment Options

Maybe the most significant advances are in the tools that will enable developers to make money from their handiwork. Developers will be able to offer subscription pricing for the first time. They can also offer other “in app” purchases, so customers could buy another level of a video game or an electronic book without having to leave the application. Many developers have wanted these payment options, to help differentiate their offerings from free or cheaper knockoffs. That’s not enough to build a large, profitable software company, but these alternatives can let developers bring in recurring revenues. “This will drive up revenues for developers, and lead to the creation of more expensive apps,” says Gartner Group (IT) analyst Van Baker.

Despite speculation that Apple would tip its hand about future devices, the company gave no such hints. And Apple did not announce support for video, which would likely be a prerequisite for the laptop-like netbook many expect the company to bring to market. But Baker notes that the secretive company may well have included software that lets iPhones record or play video clips but chose not to disclose it.

Of course, Apple’s many rivals are not about to throw in the towel. Palm (PALM) is expected to start selling its Pre phone by midyear. Many observers feel the device may come closest to the iPhone for ease of use and may be even better for people who want a device for both their personal and business lives; for example, it includes a real keyboard, which many prefer for typing e-mails. Phone maker HTC has announced it will make additional models that run Google’s (GOOG) Android software.

Microsoft to Make Its Move

Microsoft, Apple’s old nemesis from the PC wars, is also planning a major consumer push for phones that run its Windows Mobile software, which in the past were aimed mostly at corporate users. The company plans to focus on making phones that work seamlessly with Windows PCs, which still have 90% of the PC market. And the company may integrate voice-recognition capabilities, obtained through Microsoft’s 2007 acquisition of TellMe. One possibility: users simply ask for turn-by-turn directions or for the next movie time of a certain flick, rather than have to type or tap a touchscreen. “There’s a lot of opportunity there, and the team is looking at all the relevant ways to integrate that into the platform,” says Greg Sullivan, senior product manager in Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business.

But while others look, Apple is increasing the momentum for a product some believe is the most significant in the company’s history.

By Peter Burrows

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