Magazine article Artforum International

Tibor Kalman

Magazine article Artforum International

Tibor Kalman

Article excerpt

NEW MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

Unlike Walt Disney's corporate-sponsored global pavilions at Epcot Center, "Tiborocity," a theme park cleverly disguised as a museum retrospective, is based on a single mythical "village" that could be anywhere in the nonindustrial universe. In a playful yet political twist on the small-world-after-all theme, local sites within this village--public square, classroom, storefront, etc.--showcased two decades of far-flung work that Tibor Kalman and his design firm, M&Co., created for an equally disparate roster of clients. The ingenious installation (co-organized by Aaron Betsky of SF MOMA, where the show originated, and Kalman, who died of cancer last year) relied on two cornerstones of the designer's process: change as crucial to creativity and the vernacular as a font of inspiration.

No grandiose wall titles here: just a red, floor-to-ceiling, stenciled "T" with two small scraps of paper taped nearby offering "IBOROCITY" and the subtitle, "Design and Undesign by Tibor Kalman, 1979-1999." Moreover, this identifier was around the corner from the entry, so that the visitor first encountered a wall of shelves piled with chewing gum, ticket stubs, photos, maps, bobby pins, and other everyday flotsam. Viewers were invited to add and remove objects, creating a display in constant flux. Also in this section (the "public square") were unbound issues of Colors, the Benetton-funded magazine that Kalman created, edited, and art-directed in the early to mid-'90s. The barrage of imagery demonstrated Kalman's talent for creating a visual language that could be relevant around the globe. On view nearby, a small-scale version of Times Square Billboard Park, 1993, comprised a sign reading "EVERYBODY" above chairs that transformed sitters into street art (or here, window art).

Further along in the village, a "classroom" displayed Kalman-designed children's books by his wife, Maira, along with his own Chairman RoifFehibaum which visually echoes Mao's Little Red Book, on a shelf in the corner. …

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