Michael Bierut on Charley Harper

Charley Harper

Todd Oldham’s new monograph on Charley Harper (1922-2007), mentioned here last February, is a winner in every sense of the word. From the lavish packaging, beautiful print quality and exquisite collection of artwork, the book is everything a Charley Harper fan could want. Michael Bierut at Design Observer has some incisive thoughts about Harper in this piece entitled “Flat, Simple and Funny: The World of Charley Harper. About the new book, Bierut makes this observation: “…it’s beautifully produced, a clear labor of love for designer-author Oldham. But as a tribute, it struck me as somewhat ill-fitting, just too over-the-top and lavish for a humble, softspoken designer who claimed to be unable to draw a straight line without a ruler or a circle without a compass.”

Bierut’s piece also links to this MP3 audio interview between Todd Oldham and the self-effacing Harper which makes for good listening. Folks in Ohio should note that an exhibiton of Harper’s work opened this past weekend at the Cincinnati Art Museum. The museum currently has an exhibit of Saul Steinberg’s work as well. How often is it that two mid-century illustration greats are given retrospectives at the same museum? Definitely a treat worth checking out if you’re in the neighborhood.