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Quirk Books

Swissted: Punk Rock Gig Posters Reinterpreted in Swiss Modernist Style

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Quirk Books

On the surface, it might not seem like punk rock and Swiss modernism have much in common—but pick up Mike Joyce's book Swissted, out tomorrow, and you'll see that the music and art movements blend beautifully. "I always liked that my two favorite things seemed completely at odds with one another," Joyce tells mental_floss. "Punk has an anti-establishment ethos and Swiss modernism is very structured. But at the same time there’s a common thread between the two—the Swiss modernists purged extraneous decoration to create clear communication, while punk rock took on self-indulgent rock and roll and stripped it to its core. So I thought it would be an interesting study to combine the two and see what happened."

Joyce, who owns the New York City-based Stereotype Design, grew up listening to punk and went to hardcore and indie rock shows in the mid-to-late '80s. "I was always really inspired by the aesthetic of underground music and designed t-shirts, flyers, and cassette demos for my friends who were in local bands at the time," he says. In the early 1990s, Joyce attended Alfred University's School of Art and Design and studied graphic design under Fred Troller, a Swiss-born graphic designer who introduced the student to International Typographic Style, which originated in Switzerland in the 1950s and emphasized cleanliness and readability. "To me, it was completely new and fresh," Joyce says. "I loved how completely different it was than anything I'd ever seen up to that point."

Swissted features 200 redesigned posters from shows that actually happened, featuring bands like the Ramones, the Dead Kennedys, Weezer, Black Flag, and more—all ready to be ripped out and hung on the wall. Joyce turned to the internet to find his source material: the original gig posters. "Some of the original poster and flyer artists have posted their work on various sites and blogs and there are a lot of collectors with an impressive amount of old school work displayed," he says. "There’s also a brilliant book, F***ed Up + Photocopied, that served as a great source of inspiration."

Flyers have long served as an artistic inspiration for Joyce. "In just one random collection of flyers you can find minimalism, collage, transformative art, beautiful typography, black humor, unique handwriting and lettering, abstraction, political statements—the list goes on," he says. "So that basic spirit and aesthetic has always been a big inspiration to all of my design work." That said, his goal with Swissted was to do something completely different than the original posters—reimagining them into a cohesive collection—while including all of the information from the posters.

To design the posters, Joyce looked at the work of Swiss poster designers like Armin Hofmann, Emil Ruder, and Josef Muller-Brockmann. "If you look at Muller-Brockmann’s 'Musica Viva' poster series, there’s not a musical instrument or musician to be seen" Joyce says. "He used shape, structure, motion, color, and typography to evoke the feeling of music. And while doing this, they also somehow achieve perfectly clear communication through abstraction, which to me is brilliant. It’s kind of the opposite of how things are done today where everything needs to be so literal and hit you over the head."

And the font each poster features is not Helvetica—it's lowercase berthold akzidenz-grotesk medium.

One of Joyce's favorite designs is the 45 Grave poster. "I really wanted to focus on how beautiful and eye-catching a portion of the band’s name could be and what interesting aesthetic things would happen if the numbers intersected and combined with each other," he says.

In his interpretations of the Sex Pistols and Red Hot Chili Peppers posters, the artist "wanted to create a sense of tension and motion."

A few of the posters, however, do have a slightly literal interpretation. "The Fang design has a wink to the band’s name in that the white triangle can be seen as one menacing fang," Joyce says. "It’s been really fun for me to hear people guess at the meaning behind certain designs or for them to come up with their own interpretations. It kind of reminds of what a lot of songwriters say about fans re-interpreting their lyrics. After a while, the song belongs to everyone and not just the songwriter."

The project, Joyce says, plays with the idea that "a lot of punk rock album art didn’t fit within people’s pre-conceived ideas of what the genre should look like. Album covers by the likes of the Adolescents, Germs, Gang of Four, the Buzzcocks, and Public Image Limited used minimal or bold typography to create memorable and lasting cover art which was at odds with what people perceived to be 'punk.' I think Swissted is a tribute to the true independent spirit of punk in that it shows there’s not one specific way in which things should be done."

Cephalopod Fossil Sketch in Australia Can Be Seen From Space

Australia is home to some of the most singular creatures alive today, but a new piece of outdoor art pays homage to an organism that last inhabited the continent 65 million years ago. As the Townsville Bulletin reports, an etching of a prehistoric ammonite has appeared in a barren field in Queensland.

Ammonites are the ancestors of the cephalopods that currently populate the world’s oceans. They had sharp beaks, dexterous tentacles, and spiraling shells that could grow more than 3 feet in diameter. The inland sea where the ammonites once thrived has since dried up, leaving only fossils as evidence of their existence. The newly plowed dirt mural acts as a larger-than-life reminder of the ancient animals.

To make a drawing big enough to be seen from space, mathematician David Kennedy plotted the image into a path consisting of more than 600 “way points.” Then, using a former World War II airfield as his canvas, the property’s owner Rob Ievers plowed the massive 1230-foot-by-820-foot artwork into the ground with his tractor.

The project was funded by Soil Science Australia, an organization that uses soil art to raise awareness of the importance of farming. The sketch doubles as a paleotourist attraction for the local area, which is home to Australia's "dinosaur trail" of museums and other fossil-related attractions. But to see the craftsmanship in all its glory, visitors will need to find a way to view it from above.

[h/t Townsville Bulletin]

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Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
8 Things You Might Not Know About the Louvre
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Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

It might be the most iconic art museum in the world. Located in Paris, the Louvre (officially the Musée du Louvre) has admitted thousands of cultural artifacts and millions of admirers since opening its doors in 1793. A guided tour is always best, but if you can’t make it to the Right Bank of the Seine, check out these eight facts about the landmark’s past, present, and future.


Before French King Philip II left for the Crusades in 1190, he ordered the fortification of the Seine area along the western border of Paris against any antagonists. Crowning the structure was a castle that featured a moat and defensive towers; it also housed a prison for undesirables. Over time, other construction urbanized the area, reducing the need for a combat-ready tower. In the 1500s, King Francis I built his residence on the same site. An art lover, Francis’s home and its collection of pieces hinted at what the Louvre would eventually become. In 1793, part of the Louvre became a public museum.


Before art was on open display for public consumption, the Louvre invited artists to stay and work on site and treat the building like a creative retreat. In 1608, Henri IV began offering artists both studio and living space in the Louvre. They could sculpt, paint, and generally do as they wished—but by the 18th century, the surplus of distinguished squatters had left the property a bit of a mess, and their residency was eventually phased out.


Crowned emperor in 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte wasn’t above a little self-glorification. Having spearheaded the transformation of the Louvre from a cultural hub to his own tributary, he had the name changed to the Musée Napoléon and hung the Mona Lisa in his bedroom. The banner lasted until his defeat in 1815.


In a move right out of David Copperfield’s playbook, in 2016 French artist JR was able to execute an impressive optical illusion using the three-story glass pyramid that sits outside the front of the Louvre. The surface was pasted with black-and-white photographs of surrounding buildings, making it seem like the construct had disappeared entirely. The performance piece was left up for about a month.


Art heists in movies are typically pretty glamorous affairs, with gentlemen thieves and Swiss-watch planning. But when crooks lifted the Mona Lisa from its perch in the Louvre in 1911, it was a fairly indelicate operation. Three Italian handymen hid in the museum overnight, then removed the painting from the wall and bid a retreat out the door in full view of the public. One of them tried selling it over two years later, but a suspicious dealer phoned police. The ensuing media coverage is thought to be one of the reasons the painting has become one of the most famous in the world.


In 2013, nearly half of the museum’s 450 employees refused to come to work because of a nagging pest on the premises: pickpockets. Employees said that the adolescent criminals—admission is free for those under 18—distracted and robbed American tourists and showed only disdain for Louvre workers who tried to intervene. Authorities agreed to increase security measures, and they returned to their posts.


Few museums sanction forgeries of any type, but the Louvre recognizes the curious subculture of artists who enjoy trying to replicate famous works. Every day from 9:30 to 1:30, “copyists” are allowed to set up easels and study paintings while working on their own replicas. The appeal for the artists is to try to gain insight into the process behind masterpieces; the museum insists that the canvas size not be exactly the same, and that they’re not signed.


With more than 8 million visitors annually, the Louvre can often feel congested to tourists unfamiliar with its layout. In 2016, the museum began offering an app that guides users around, offering them a pre-planned tour or an exit strategy. Lost? Hang a left at the Picasso, then a right at the Michelangelo.


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