Designers with a future do not take the upper hand in the creation process—over developer “code-monkeys.” The Art Director role is undergoing redefinition, as is Art. The new designer wins by productive conversation with developers, writers, and others. Ultimately, their project’s success depends on how well it serves the user. The project must be  flexible, living, breathing, and capable of improving its dialog with users, incrementally, over time.

Incremental design has been around for several years, but Rebecca Miller and Savannah Wolf’s invocation of it—in a preview presentation at the April NYC Ruby Women meet up, organized by Chrys Wu and Rachel Ober at Paperless Post—felt like a game-change. Wolf and Miller-Webster are Head of Product Design and Lead Engineer respectively at the Brooklyn-based dating site How About We. They will present Incremental Design at the upcoming Portland, Oregon Railsconf  (I counted eight female and and sixty-six male speakers in the roster this year). Miller and Wu are behind Write.Speak.Code. the June 20-22 three-day event at Pace University that addresses the lack of gender diversity in technology fields by helping women with these communication tools.


Dance Review: ABT’s three-year-young Ratmansky Nutcracker at BAM—


Alexie Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker (2010) has us not only see Tchaikovsky’s music, but feel it. We discovered this while watching Xiomara Reyes and Eric Tamm’s grande pas de deux in American Ballet Theatre’s week-long run at Brooklyn Academy of Music. Opening night December 7, 2012 the chilling music and the dancing brought us to tears. When ABT Orchestra Conductor Ormsby Wilkins took his bow on stage, he looked unusually overwhelmed with emotion. Why then, was there even one empty seat? Read the rest of this entry »

Dance review: wks 1 and 2 of 3-week “Some Sweet Day

“I’m writing my own little collapsed history book,” Ralph Lemon told Time Out in September. It is unfolding over the course of his three-part curation “Some Sweet Day” in the Marron Atrium of the Museum of Modern Art. The sweet day has arrived: adequately-funded dance productions are in the venerable modern art canon, and the venerable institution. The title comes from a gospel song and brings with it references to racial inequality as well as inequality between different art forms. Read the rest of this entry »

Dance Review: Morris, Tudor, Balanchine, Ratmansky on ABT

The great modern choreographer Mark Morris’s Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes challenged us to put aside preconceptions October 19 in American Ballet Theatre’s City Center season. It doesn’t give us what we thought we wanted, ballets beautiful illusion of perfection. Read the rest of this entry »

Dance Review: Specific Ocean at NYLA

New York Live Arts presented Steven Reker and People Get Ready’s Specific Ocean. Its mix of music and dance suggests myriad influences including street, Indian forms, and flamenco. The performers sit or kneel at the floor’s perimeter playing small keyboards, drums, electric guitars. They take the instruments into the performing area and dance with them. They also grab stage props and play them like musical instruments, working them to the breaking point like the great rockers. Read the rest of this entry »

Artists at the Controls: the New Museum (floors 3&4)

The four-floor exhibit “Ghosts in the Machine” is organized like a cabinet of curiosities linked by a web of references, according to the wall text and Massimiliano Gioni’s interesting and readable catalog essay. As New Museum Associate Director and co-curator of the show, he aimed to “move beyond pure tautology of the masterpiece, trying instead to look at artworks and other manifestations of visual culture as documents describing a certain vision of the world.” The series of period rooms combine art that was exhibited together in the early 60s “to recreate an archeology of vision.” Read the rest of this entry »

Trending: learning to code at the New Museum

The New Museum-affiliated publication Rhizome organized an August 17th discussion and workshop “Learn to code from an artist.” The panelist of  artists and educators downplayed a suggestion that people are knocking down their doors to learn coding. The young-ish audience of about eighty made an interested public for the talk, in the Museum’s New Silent Series exploring the influence of technology on Gen Y.

Douglas Rushkoff (codecademy evangelist and author of Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commandments for a Digital Age) moderated: Amit Pitaru and Jer Thorp of Kitchen Table Coders, Sonali Sridhar of Hacker School, and Vanessa Hurst of Girl Develop It and Developers for Good. They argued, if you learn code, you control the future. At least, you will see the future. That is the appeal.

The aim is not preparing a workforce for Google; it is more along the lines of continued art-making, making tools for social good instead of consuming them, owning the machine. These educators are ushering in interest in the craft; web work is the new crochet. No adult left behind! The wondrous Apple created a demand for lessons.

The panel was the perfect introduction and companion to the Museum’s new state-of-the-art website and their current exhibit “Ghosts in the Machine” (next post). A Saturday afternoon workshop with the Coders and the open source program Processing followed.

Lincoln Center Festival review: Giselle, Boléro (Béjart), L’Arlésienne (Petit), Suite en Blanc (Lifar)

What style. Considering their centrality among Danish, Italian, and Russian ballet traditions, and their own ballet “personality”—long arms, clear movements, perfect line and form, super fast footwork, and  corps that move as one—it’s clear why French is the language of ballet. What a treat for New Yorkers who love the art. Read the rest of this entry »

Dance review: Ratmansky and Ashton forest fantasies from American Ballet Theatre

Choreographer Alexie Ratmansky’s sense of humor warms us to his new Firebird for American Ballet Theatre. Though it has no actual ha ha moments, it is robust, uplifting, and freeing—yet contradictory. June 21st it was devil-may-care, with every movement and tableau lush and elegant. First the sculpural props, then the smart dancing, conjure a kind of dystopia in Igor Stravinsky’s music L’ Oiseau de feu. Read the rest of this entry »

Dance review: Beginning of the End of the…

Leaving my seat after the one-hour Joyce SoHo performance, my surroundings look unreal, like I’m in a play.  The title Beginning of the End of the… befits this circular, fourth-wall-crumbling work which is somehow a nurturing play about continuance. Read the rest of this entry »