Winter 2001/2002



"Among all of the precious lives lost and architectural splendor that came crashing down a quarter of a mile into the earth that fateful day, Glasserís contribution too is now buried there, but his memorable creation for one of America's greatest cities will live on and surely play an instrumental role in its healing."





















by Michael Tamburello

We've seen a plethora of heroes appearing everyday in the news since September 11th, many who have become a part of our American and world history. And while itís refreshing to see the media work overtime to pursue another great narrative of honor and valor, which I continue to find so inspiring, I have become concerned that the American psyche might begin to narrow its attention span to only those heroes that make the evening news, or worse, that such stories might begin to wear off their sparkle altogether however deserving of our attention. One might wonder, especially our youth, "Do I need to perform a "bigger than life" act to have a memorable impact on the world?"

In the recent years, we have seen a rising trend in school violence with its primary component to seek attention through destruction of human life through some catastrophic act of brutality. In all of the noise of our florescent "bigger, faster, better" world, is it of little wonder why so many teens might navigate toward thinking that the only important factor in what you do is how "big" or "loud" it can be, regardless of its consequences?

An answer to the question might best be found in my recent trip to New York where I came across a shirt and sweater stand in Times Square that had white tees in all sizes silk-screened in a bold acclamation with a giant red heart reading "". It was back in the mid-seventies when I first saw the well-known logo that became one of the most recognizable and frequently imitated icons of human history. I thought of the design and its creator, Milton Glaser, a name few are probably aware of, whose brilliant design concepts have touched the world in so many places, especially in New York.

When our mission team arrived at the State University of New York (SUNY) to speak and perform to members of their student body at their student activities center, I was struck by brightly colored kinetic art overlooking the main area depicting bicycles moving in synchronicity. Each wheel was comprised of a unique pop-art graphic of intertwining circles that repeatedly began to turn, accelerate and then stop again. It was quite striking and gave life to an otherwise common room.

In this public place, where you might find students studying for an exam, passing through it from the nearby cafeteria, or participating in a function like ours that evening, the bicycles endlessly paced forward in their brisk trek to an imaginary destination, yet few there that night, or at any other time probably were ever aware of their origin, or unique connection to the very thing that beckoned our team there in the first place. Yes, it was again the genius of Milton Glaser who created the whimsical wall sculpture that captures your imagination. Interestingly, it was this same man who also the designed the observation deck for Americaís tallest twin towers.















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The Student Activities Center at the State University of New York in Long Island is graced with Glaser's kinetic two-dimensional sculpture depicting pack of pedaling cyclists.




Glaser's permanent exhibit at the 107th floor of the World Trade Center's observation deck complimented its 360į command view of New York.

Twelve years ago, I worked in Manhattan and often spent many evenings wrapping up my day at the Windows of the World restaurant atop the 107th floor of the north tower. The magnificent view of the harbor, Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty, especially at night, made me return often for a reflective night high above my favorite of cities. Part of my ritual before I would race one of the elevators back to the ground floor was to grab a handful of matches beautifully imprinted with the restaurantís logo. I still have about a dozen of the little gold and white matchboxes that I will forever cherish as my piece of what is left of a landmark from a happier era. But what makes them even more special to me is that Glaser also designed them!

In my thirty or so years as a veteran graphic designer who has found inspiration and been influenced by the work of great designers, some well-known, some lesser known, Milton Glaser has always been the jewel on my personal list of visual practitioners who have had a major impact on the world. His work, which is continually seen by everyone, everyday, and everywhere, also brought beauty and inspiration to one of America's special places. Among all of the precious lives lost and architectural splendor that came crashing down a quarter of a mile into the earth that fateful day, Glasserís contribution too is now buried there, but his memorable image for one of America's greatest cities will live on and surely play an instrumental role in its healing.

"As I began my walk down Times Square and passed by countless faces filled with pain and grief like those you
see in WW2 documentaries,
I thanked God
for putting a
Milton Glaser
in this world,
a man whose contributions make it a brighter place and inspire us at a time when we need it more than ever."


I dug into my pocket for some money at the tee-shirt stand where stacks of the bright white apparel imprinted with the bright red heart loudly beckoned me. As the man took my money and tossed several of the shirts into my bag, I thought of how amazing it was that one person could have such a lasting impact on the world with such a simple, yet powerful contribution. As I began my walk down Times Square and passed by countless faces filled with pain and grief like those you see in WW2 documentaries, I thanked God for putting a Milton Glaser in this world, a man whose contributions make it a brighter place and inspire us at a time when we need it more than ever.

I was again reminded of how all of us can make a difference in the world and leave a lasting impact on it. However subtle our contribution may seem, or as with Glaser, how it may even be taken for granted, we influence and shape the world by simply being the best of who we are with our God-given passions and talents.

The big red heart on the tee shirt reminded me that everyone has something valuable to offer. Whether it results in climbing up seventy floors to rescue a life from a towering inferno, thwarting the evil efforts of terrorists aboard a plunging airliner, or simply designing a graphic image, it really isnít how big or noble your actions are or that you even die as a result of them. You impact the world when you simply live for something worthwhile every day in your life. And it isnít until we live for something, that we can truly die for anything.

   
 

In addition to the "I love NY" logo commissioned by the state of New York, Glaserís graphic and architectural contributions include the design of the complete graphic and decorative programs for the restaurants in the World Trade Center, New York, as well as the design of the Observation Deck for the World Trade Center. His other contributions to New York include heading the graphic program of the Rainbow Room complexes for the Rockefeller Center Management Corporation and the conceptualization and interior design of "New York Unearthed", a museum located in Manhattanís South Street Seaport.

Glaser also co-founded New York magazine where he was president and design director. The publication became the model for city magazines, and stimulated a host of imitations. Glaser later teamed with creative director Walter Bernard to form WBMG, a publication design firm located in New York City. Since its inception, they have designed more than 50 magazines, newspapers and periodicals around the world. Glaser is also personally responsible for the design and illustration of more than 300 posters for clients in the areas of publishing, music, theater, film, institutional and civic enterprise, as well as those for commercial products and services.

Milton Glaser is currently design consultant to Stony Brook University, Landsí End Direct Merchants, Schlumberger Ltd., Brueggerís Bagels and a number of other clients.

   


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