“Outlaws and Icons” is the theme of this year’s Gravity Free design conference, which kicks off tomorrow at Chicago’s Spertus Institute. The multidisciplinary affair brings together disparate design stars, from Chip Kidd and Brian Collins to Rafael de Cárdenas and Margie Ruddick. Jonathan Alger of C&G Partners will be on hand to moderate, probe, and query. And the big finish? A Wednesday afternoon keynote address by George Lois. Register here.
Back in New York City, the month of May brings flowers and the Parsons Festival, 20 spring days worth of exhibitions, symposia, panel discussions, critiques, and special projects that celebrate the next generation of artists and designers. There are graduate shows a-plenty, beginning with tomorrow’s fashion benefit honoring designer Donna Karan and entrepreneur Sheila C. Johnson.
On Wednesday, all eyes will be on the D-Critters at the School of Visual Arts as the MFA Design Criticism program presents “Eventually Everything,” its third annual conference. Change Observer co-editor Julie Lasky will moderate a day of presentations from the likes of media historian Stuart Ewen, Pentagram’s Michael Bierut, and the whipsmart student speakers. MFA candidate Anna Kealey’s talk sound particularly tasty. “I’ll be presenting my thesis topic ‘Unpacking the Pastoral Food Package,'” she tells us, “which discusses the role designers have played in perpetuating myths about how food is produced in the United States.” Yum! And save room for talks from her classmates, who’ll tackle topics including the implications of Anthropologie and the AK-47.