Design and Art

Design and Art, edited by Alex Coles, published in the Whitechapel Art Gallery's Documents of Contemporary Art series, investigates the interchange between art and design. Since the Pop and Minimalist eras, the traditional boundaries between art, architecture, graphic design and product design have dissolved in critically significant ways. Design and Art traces the rise of the "designart" phenomenon through the writings of critics and practitioners active in both fields. This research is particularly relevant to the Communication Art and Design area of study and practice and has arisen in part from a roundtable discussion programme that I direct at the RCA. Critical writing about art's interface with design is scarce and the topic has been little considered in the last 30 years. My contribution to the book, a discussion with M/M - Parisian designers who operate at the design/art interface - and the associated work I am doing in other academic contexts attempts to bring together the various strands of thought into a more compound analysis. The chapter provides designers, design/art educators and contemporary artists with the critical and historical commentary needed to understand the development of the interdisciplinary approach and, in addition, makes information about these issues accessible to readers approaching "designart" from the perspective of art history, visual studies or cultural studies. Both the book and my own contribution promote the idea of an equality of intention and purpose in the art and design worlds by putting the two disciplines in dialogue with each other. I was invited to present a paper at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, in a debate about the art/design interface with Alex Coles and Rick Poynor and my chapter for Design and Art was translated for publication in Étapes, France.