Where do Milton Glaser and Ed Fella rub shoulders with Iggy Pop and Yoko Ono, while Oscar-winning director Todd Haynes runs around in a Bigfoot suit? Only in the pages of Plazm magazine. Since 1991, the Portland-based publication has taken risks with artistically unusual work, innovative writing, and political art, garnering international acclaim and awards along the way. Work from Plazm magazine is currently featured in Liquid Space PDX’s inaugural exhibit. Join Plazm art director Joshua Berger, artist Kate Bingaman-Burt, and Namita Wiggers, director and curator of the Museum of Contemporary Craft, in conversation at Liquid Space PDX. The event takes place February 5th at 910 NW Hoyt, from 6 to 9 pm. Silkscreened posters by Bijan Berahimi will be given to guests, and beer will be provided by Fort George Brewery.
From DIY publishing to information overload.
“I believe design can change the world,” Josh says. Now a Senior Creative Director at Liquid, he’s spent decades investigating and deploying methods of mass communication, with a focus on design and publishing. Terms like “content provider” didn’t exist 22 years ago when a group of Portland artists including Josh founded Plazm, and the social media of the day was printed on paper—small independent publications and self-made ‘zines. Before everyday people could easily broadcast their thoughts and images online, independent media required serious dedication and labor to produce and distribute; five enormous corporations had a stranglehold on most of the information and entertainment broadcast and distributed in the US. Yet DIY experiments in self-expression, including Plazm magazine, brought about a tumultuous revolution in graphic design and ultimately influenced the evolution of what was then called the World Wide Web. The knowledge gained applies directly to today’s art and design, print and digital, paper and multimedia. Josh believes that “being able to make easily understood messages is truly important, especially in an era of information overload.”
A seat at the table.
Josh is a fine artist as well, a finalist for the Contemporary Northwest Art Award who shows work in galleries and staged intervention in Times Square. Yet commercial work is more than just a bread and butter gig for Josh—he pursues it with determination and a drive to perfection. His clients have ranged from LucasFilm (which invited his team into the gated halls of Skywalker Ranch) to Nike, one of his most frequent clients since back in his early 90s W+K days.
“It’s about contributing in a positive way to the world,” Josh explains. “Brands big and small can create positive social and cultural impact. Whether that’s in the Liquid Walmart work, where we’re helping to encourage and empower employees to be more healthy, engage with new benefits, inspiring them to lead healthier and happier lives—anything from creating a massive cultural paradigm shift, to specifying recycled paper on a print job, to creating a sustainable, low-environmental impact packaging for a digital device—designers have a role to play in the products and the messages that are put into the world.” More than that, corporate clients put the work of designers and other creative professionals in front of millions of people. As Josh puts it, “Design has a seat at the table.”
The power of art, creativity and collaboration.
Liquid Space provides another example of positive impact. Alfredo Muccino, Chief Creative Officer and a co-founder of Liquid Agency, developed the concept as an experimental gallery at the agency’s San Jose headquarters, with Liquid Space PDX soon to follow. “We believe in pushing the boundaries, and we embrace innovation” he explains. Alfredo—also a visual artist—greatly respects the power of art and creativity in our lives. His vision was to share the work of talented artists and multidisciplinary designers with Liquid’s employees, clients, and local communities. Now the galleries (which can be viewed by appointment or at public events) showcase artists, designers, pop-ups, and other experiments. Liquid Space recently collaborated with the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art to show the work of Sabine Reckewell; here in Portland, upcoming shows include Innovation by Design (currently on display in San Jose), and work by Portland artist Kate Bingaman-Burt.
Plazm at Liquid Space PDX: Drinks, design, & discussion
February 5, 2014
6:00-9:00 pm; discussion at 7:30 pm
910 NW Hoyt Street, Portland, Oregon
With Plazm art director Joshua Berger, artist Kate Bingaman-Burt, and Namita Gupta Wiggers, the Director and Chief Curator of MoCC, the Museum of Contemporary Craft.
Silkscreened posters designed and printed by Bijan Berahimi (preview below) will be given to guests on a first come, first served basis. Beer courtesy from Fort George Brewery will also be available for free. Come join the conversation! Video: Every page of Plazm magazine with an E*Rock soundtrack (10,000x edit above).