Prof. Vilim Vasata,
To start with it and to not
seem too pretentious, the title of my essay could
also be named in a more
practical version, like "mankind repair".
Within the Zeche Zollverein
you will find a restaurant. The great architecture
is what placed the buildings
into the list of the UNESCO world heritage. But on
the restaurant’s ceiling you will find some of these
terribly disappointing chandeliers, which most possibly
only have survived due to bourgeois neglect of tradition,
almost an injury to human rights. Something which
tells us how endless the stylistic vulnerabilities
of our world are and that our work of mankind repair
is never supposed to come to an end.
The designer is a power, nothing else. A force.
And, if he makes a conscious effort, he provides
an orientation, of course, in all this blathering,
corrupted dialogue of our societies. We must talk
straight. And we must reclaim our memory in order
to understand where we once stood and where we stand
This fervent guy, George Lois,
the Greek, the Esquire star of the forceful images,
art director in the
reckless New York of the Sixties, is still not at
peace either. He describes today’s scene, quite similar
to the way I see it. He is asking what I am asking.
Did we lose our innocence? Where
has the vivid imagination of the Sixties gone?
Take the time just after J.F.
Kennedy had been elected: The political and erotic
energies opened the vaults, released the bats and
butterflies from the collective unconscious, infused
colour into the country’s fantasies. It was as if
America had gone to bed in a Holiday Inn and woke
up in a poppy field. It was a decade when the inner
mystic eye uplinked to the slick packing of Madison
Avenue. In comparison with today almost an optical
orgy, the 60s kaleidoscoped with iconography. J.F.
Kennedy and Jackie. Chairman Mao. Che Guevara. Andy
Warhol’s soup cans and Brillo boxes. Marilyn Monroe
adrift on the set of The Misfits. The cover of "Sgt.
Pepper" by the Beatles, with its magpie cemetery
of modernism. The Woodstock logo.
And, vital to any montage of
60s iconography, George Lois’ cavalcade of Esquire
covers, Andy Warhol drowning in a tomato soup can.
George Lois, a visual power
of rare excellence, still actively making noise.
Lois believes that advertising today not only has
lost its faith but has levitated up its own butt-chute.
Ads, he says, advertising has become art-schooly
in their cool look and tone: dissonant, elliptical,
postmodern, rendering a lack of affect as hip attitude.
Tailored strictly for entertainment value to grab
a quick laugh from attention-deficit-disordered viewers,
the product itself an excuse to press the joy buzzer.
He argues, not only that the philosophy of advertising
has changed, almost resulting in a cult of anti-advertising,
but also that the process of producing ads has led
to an android detachment. His generation drew and
cut and pasted and had a tactile connection to the