Thursday, January 26, 2012

Authentic Moss

was 9 months pregnant with my son Bobby, and considered myself a lucky designer. In 1997, the world was my oyster, professionally and personally. Four years out of graduate school and into a professional design career, our studio, Boym Partners, was rocking the supermarkets of Europe and the aisles of Target with plastic containers produced by a revolutionary German company called Authentics. All of a sudden, I found out from a friend that the go-to NYC design retailer, MOSS, was paying attention to our work.

I finally met Murray and Franklin outside their store re-arranging the window display of our studio’s plastic containers one midnight coming out of a late movie at the Angelika Film Center across Houston Street. In a beautiful high/low moment, the former Metro Pictures Gallery window looked like a supermarket shelf (well, almost). The window display was bursting with $2.25 plastic containers. It was one of the first of many of MOSS’ gutsy signature moves, the highbrow retailer championing cheap mass-produced design objects. For the record, the set of 8 Moss-curated Boym containers in a plastic bag cost $20.00, plus tax. There is a big price gap from $20 containers to a $20,000 sofa. For Murray Moss, the design quality could lie in all things, and he was eager to prove it to incredulous New York public.

MOSS, standard bearer extraordinaire, put their money where their mouth is. Despite what critics say, the MOSS perspective on design is not an elitist view. It’s only sincere and pure expression of a better life through design. And to guild the lily, they and their handpicked and trained staff lovingly organized many memorable exhibitions and parties. You can ask anyone in the design world who was there. I have been blessed to have been one of their designer/artist collaborators and friends for 16 years. I’d love to disclose many other memorable (design) controversies we survived together, but that history is still being written. There’s a bright future ahead for these boys starting the MOSS BUREAU.

Laurene Leon Boym

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Gift

On my recent trip to the south of India, I managed to get hold of a bicycle and pedaled through villages outside of Pondicherry, to a great excitement of local population. Children and youngsters, especially, seemed to be taken by a sight of a tourist on a bike with a camera. “Picture, picture!”– this cheerful and insisting call I would hear again and again. At first, I thought the villagers wanted to get paid a little for posing for the shot. This presumption proved wrong. Far from expecting the tip, they were sincerely surprised at the offering of money. Even though normally I am hesitant to take pictures of people, here I ended up with a small portrait gallery.

These encounters, so characteristic of India, are a curious phenomenon – like a souvenir in reverse. The Westerners always try to take something from a journey, to get a possession of something local for a good memory. Those Indian teens, on the contrary, wanted to give away, prompting me to capture their images to bring them home with me. I remember one group demanding to see their digital picture, and once they were certain I had it in my camera, they seemed greatly satisfied. They got their souvenir!

Here is this image from the world’s most photogenic country, the gift from a fishermen’s village, the name of which I do not even know. I’d like to share it with everyone.