Design and culture -- Metaphorical Utopia -- Visual literacy -- Theory and typography -- Reasonably coherent systems -- Truth and beauty -- Mental furniture -- Customized eclecticism -- What is wrong with Modernism? -- Other people's identity -- Hip-hop Modernism / Jeffrey Deitch -- Wild style -- Model revolutionary / Steven Holt -- New tribalism -- Domesticated sculpture -- Pieces of Dan's body and soul / Alessandro Mendini -- Modernism gone wild -- Projects of optimism.
This lavishly illustrated and provocative book on design and society is Friedman's meditation on behalf of "radical modernism," a term he coins to avoid the philosophical constraints of orthodox modernism and the jargon and anarchy of post-modernism. A key figure in the current debate over style and meaning in modern design, Friedman provides inspiration and encouragement to those who are still open to risk, experimentation, and optimism. To illustrate his ideas, he draws on both media images and a wide array of his own work - including his experimental furniture, sculpture, posters, logos, books, installations, typographic lessons, and his apartment, which has been called a living museum.
Friedman argues that design is in crisis, searching for a new sense of balance and vision in a period of historic transformation. Throughout the book he emphasizes the responsibility of designers to avoid overspecialization and to see their work as an important creative aspect of a larger cultural context. He also discusses the impact of digital technology on visual art education; the relationship between theory and practice; and the ways in which appropriation, simulation, reuse, and eclecticism challenge out notions of originality, beauty, and authenticity. His interpretation of modernism gives new relevance to ritual, fantasy, diversity, spirituality, humanism, and ecology. Essays by experts from the cutting edge of art, design, and architecture add insights to both the philosophy behind Friedman's work and the critical response to it.