WEEK OF the Design Field Trip

Nicole: “This is the best copy I’ve ever read on a museum wall!”

Brandon: “That has to go in the blog.”

This week,

We went to the Whitney! Getting offsite can be productive to team building and in creating valuable conversation that might not surface in the routine office setting.

Whitney Museum of American Art is located in Chelsea, with a reasonable amount of art to view in one afternoon. The top floor is devoted to Carmen Herrera, a Cuban-American abstract minimalist painter, for the Winter season. What appeared to be a series of triangles was actually a series of rectangles (according to other museum goers), her designs heavily influenced from her training as an architect. Some works were head-scratching, some pleasantly balanced, some uncomfortably unbalanced. To look at a series of shapes and feel actual shifting emotions—this was an important lesson given the minimalist, icon-heavy mobile design of the day.

Herrera “experimented with different modes of abstraction before establishing the visual language that she would explore with great nuance for the succeeding five decades,” said the delicious wall copy.

We continued downstairs, where two floors of portraiture spanned the past two hundred years in paint, photography, sculpture, and, our favorite, 3D printing. Each room explored different questions of portrait making: Does a portrait have to portray a person? Can a person portray an object? Given the ubiquity of smartphones and the unprecedented barrage of portraits we see every day on social media (think selfies and Snapchat), portraits, once rarefied luxury items, have been democratized. So, what is the role of the portrait artist in the 21st century?

Technology lauds itself on data and reason, but really what we see most of the time our phone pings is writing, portraits, drawings, filmography—it’s art.

Currently reading: Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night, poetry by Morgan Parker

Currently watching: Insecure on HBO

Currently listening to: StarTalk Radio

Nicole’s new gadget this week: a GHD hair straightener she wasn’t in the market for but #cybermonday