Screening: Waste Land: Art and Transformation Film: Vic Muniz

Vic Muniz definitely changed the lives of all the people he met from the landfill. The most important part of the entire art work was the fact that the minds of the people that worked in the landfill changed for the better. They realized that while working in the landfill they were satisfied with the life they had.  Once they realized that there is more to them and their ideas outside of the landfill, a whole new world opened up to them. After the landfill closed, the people that helped Muniz found different jobs and were becoming more happy because they were out of their difficult lifestyle. Muniz explained that when someone has nothing they want everything, and when someone has everything they do not want anything. It is incredible that such a small gift to the people in lower middle class neighborhood was so helpful to boost their overall perception of life. The way the people saw art was also changed because they realized that Muniz’s project had a deeper meaning just like other artists with different perspectives.

Guerrilla Girls and Social Change Design


Guerrilla Girls are an anonymous group of feminist, female artists devoted to fighting sexism and racism within the art world. The group formed in New York City in 1985 with the mission of bringing gender and racial inequality in the fine arts into focus within the greater community. Members are known for the gorilla masks they wear to remain anonymous. They wanted the focus to be on the issues, not on our personalities or our own work. Also, their identity is hidden to protect themselves from the backlash of prominent individuals within the art community.

One Sunday morning they conducted a count at the MET Museum in New York comparing the number of nude males to nude females in the artworks, and the number of male artists to female artists on display. In 2004, they counted again and only 3% of the artists in the Modern and Contemporary sections were women, and 83% of the nudes were female.

Website to other work:


Conceptual Design of Postmodern Era


Tibor Kalman

Kalman was criticized for using sensitive issues such as homelessness as a public relations ploy to garner attention, but at the same time he was the master of peaking public interest in just this way. He and Sagmeister yearned for design that means something and connects to people at a human level. Kalman focused on multiculturalism and global awareness through the use of bold graphic design, typography, and juxtaposition of photographs and doctored images. He liked to depict racial minorities where he changed the way the world was viewed. He called himself a social activist. Kalman was sincere with his concepts and he understood that being a master of good design meant nothing unless it supported a message that led to action. However, Kalman was intolerant of mindless consistency and was not reluctant to make people angry about their concepts. He would be remembered more for his critiques on the nature of consumption and production than for his formal studio achievements.

Other Artists: Stefan Sagmeister, John Maeda, Stephen Sorrell


Stefan Sagmeister

Sachplakat in Germany

Sachplakat in Germany was a response to the “dated” and uber complex design of Art Nouveau. Lucian Bernhard started the movement in the early 1990’s and it was created to advertise for clients in Europe with different needs. The translation of Sachplakat is “Object Poster” where idea behind the poster is to have the object advertised be the focal point of the piece. This movement had a strong Japanese influence, had radical simplification, and had blunt messages that became the key in modern advertising.



Alphonse Mucha: Waverley Cycles (1898): Mucha created intricate designs in his posters. He used women and their sexuality to attract people towards the poster. He was very focused on creating detailed hair and ornamental borders in his work. He placed the women on top of the product that was being sold. He made the women the primary focus and the product was an after thought. The typography was clean and precise and the background was red to command attention of the viewer.


Lucian Bernhard: Priester Matches (1905): Bernhard created a flyer with a muted, black background. He did not include any ornamental details and the piece was very plain. The product that was being sold was the focal point of the poster, and there was no doubt what was being advertised. The red hue was used to emphasize the matches which gave attention to the product. There were no over-sexualized female figures featured in the posters. The typography was hand written and it was not very precise. The font seemed very geometric and cut-out-like. The entire poster contained less information and was straight to the point.