Here’s a new twist on an old Japanese folk art – painting kokeshi doll faces on matches. The original kokeshi figures, introduced a couple centuries ago, were inexpensive souvenir items that visitors to the onsen (spa) villages of northern Japan would buy to give to friends back home. (Even in California, we used to have a half dozen kokeshi, along with snow globes from New York, native American trinkets from the Grand Canyon, and seashells from Hawaii – don’t know what happened to any of them.) It’s the kind of gift that would merit a T-shirt that read: “Grandma went to the onsen and all she brought me was this wooden kokeshi.” Kokeshi dolls were distinguished by their simple rectangular torso, lacking arms and legs, and their enlarged round wooden heads, minimally painted to indicate eyes, hair and maybe a mouth or nose. (Think “Hello Kitty,” who is also missing a mouth.)
Turnabout is fair play. Andy Warhol used pop stars, pop culture and pop products to create pop art, and now Dom Perignon has returned the compliment with advertising in homage of Warhol’s iconic silkscreen stencil style. The ad was inspired by Warhol’s March 8th, 1981, diary entry in which he talked about getting together with 20 friends and buying 2,000 bottles of Dom Perignon that they would keep in a sealed room until the year 2000. In an aside comment, Warhol wrote, “the running joke is who will be around and who won’t…” Warhol, who died in 1987, didn’t live to see the day, but he certainly drank plenty of Dom Perignon in his time.
Recently, Dom Perignon commissioned the Design Laboratory of Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design in London to reinterpret its famous champagne bottle in a manner that Warhol would love, using Warhol’s signature red, blue and yellow color combination.
Two questions: What happened to the 2,000 Dom Perignon bottles that Warhol and friends stashed away in 1981? And did anyone break them open in 2000 and toast in the new millennium?
From the Magazine Publishers Association and American Society of Magazine Editors comes this two-minute video “Covering the Decade in Magazine Covers.” This edited America-centric view of the Aughts glaringly omits world-altering stories such as the disputed “hanging chad” Presidential election that started the decade and the rise of social media and focus on climate change that ended it. Overall, however, the video is a fascinating glimpse at the visual devices that publishers use to grab consumer attention at the newsstand. Faces, especially of celebrities, dominate most covers. Pop culture and sensational headlines trump the promise of substantive, thoughtful reporting. Obviously, the magazine reading public is more interested in being entertained than informed.