Peter Mendelsund is a graphic designer, writer, musician. Until recently he was the associate art director at Alfred A. Knopf where he designed book covers for everyone from James Joyce to Franz Kafka, Stieg Larsson and Simone De Beauvoir. In 2014, he published What We See When We Read and Cover and will publish his first novel, Same Same, next year. In this conversation, Peter and I talk about his relationship to graphic design, working across mediums and disciplines, and the differences between writing fiction and nonfiction.
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Jarrett Earnest is an artist and writer. His book, What It Means To Write About Art: Interviews with Art Critics, was released in 2018 and features longform interviews with art writers, historians, theorists, and critics. Jarrett’s writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, The Village Voice, Vulture, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. In this episode, the Jarretts talk about the strange similarities in their work, the differences between writing about art and design, and the value in having deep conversations about art.
Spencer Bailey is a writer, editor, and journalist. He is the co-founder of the media company The Slowdown and the author of the book In Memory of: Designing Contemporary Memorials. He’s also editor-at-large for Phaidon, contributing editor at Town and Country and was previously the editor-in-chief at Surface. In this episode, Jarrett and Spencer talk about the design of memorials, how he started writing about design and architecture, and how design fits into The Slowdown’s mission.
Janet Abrams is a writer, editor, journalist, and artist. Her new book, Daddy Wouldn’t Buy Me a Bauhaus: Profiles in Architecture and Design, collects her profiles of designers like Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry, Muriel Cooper, and Paul Rand from her time writing for Blueprint and I.D. magazine. In this episode, Jarrett and Janet reflect on the design writing of the late eighties, talk about the art of profile writing, and where her work in writing and ceramics intersect.