1960s Op Art— found at a Maine barn sale for $2
Being color month at Apartment Therapy we thought we'd start our month of guest posts with one that combines yard sales and color. Linda and I go yard saling every weekend, and from this collections grow. They could be books, dishes, prints, furniture, records, clothes — whatever catches our eyes. Speaking of, we've put together a collection of blues-and-reds, a color combination which usually gets no attention other than a passing thought that together they may be slightly incompatible, dated, and even optically unnerving. In large expanses it might be totally unnerving (see Syd Barrett), but here we're just (re)considering it as an accent.
• 1 Our kitchen — we first found the Robert Indiana print at a moving sale, then added the Folon, and the undecipherable modernist print above that. The European cookware (Dansk, Catherineholm, Le Creuset, Copco, etc.) is an ongoing collection, with the blues and reds kept together for that Denmark/Iceland feel.
• 2 Elsewhere in the kitchen are these French Recipe Cards, a jumbo size deck of cards with 52 different dishes and psychedelic blue-and-red backs.
• 3 Of the thousands of books we have, Terence Conran's The House Book from 1974 is one of our favorites, for all matters involving design and decorating. This picture is from the living rooms chapter, a groovy couple of slipcovers in yet again vibrant psychedelia.
• 4 Blue and red obviously lends itself well to op art, and here is a giant piece of it we found at a barn sale in Maine. It came all the way up here from Manhattan in the 1960's and was probably hanging in the same spot, covering a window, for years. It was $2.
• 5 Another piece of blue and red which belongs in the kitchen is this awesome print of a New Orleans crayfish. From 1977, it was water damaged in Hurricane Katrina and made its way to the Ft. Lauderdale swap shop flea market, where we bought it.
• 6 In another deck of cards, one of Charles Eames' from his House of Cards. And this deck we actually found in the kitchen cupboard of the beautiful Buffalo estate of a pair of artists.
• 7 Similar to the match heads, these are painted cut-outs, like easy targets, in Italian designer Carla Venosta's apartment. From "Modern Furniture and Decoration" by Robert Harling, 1971. We found the book at a yard sale.
• 8 The Scandinavians are/were the most prolific at putting the primary colors together in interesting ways, maybe because of their flags? Here are two fabric prints — one we used in a children's room we designed, behind our Bauhaus bunkbed, as curtains. I know it's not really visible, but we had it for years and it was always so cool to look at, and with sunlight coming through it, it's even better.
• 9 The next is some old Marimekko ABC fabric from 1968, found at a Connecticut thrift shop. I'd seen these made into pillows, I think in The House Book, but I can't be sure — we have books sprawled everywhere, looking for blue and red examples.
• 10 Aside from the more psychedelic op-art examples, here is a folksy use, on a Gypsy caravan in Roald Dahl's backyard from Architectural Digest Celebrity Homes 2, 1980...
• 11 ...and a more incidental juxtaposition poolside at Steve McQueen's, from The Hollywood Style, 1969.
• 12 Also from 1969 comes Syd Barrett's awesome floor, which is really what got us thinking about blue and red in the first place — has no one else done this to their floor? Is it too madcap?
• 13 Tossed & Found: Unconventional Design from Cast-offs
Is blue and red really too vibrant a combination? Can it ever be mellow? So asks Olivia Newton-John.
John and Linda Meyers are otherwise known as Wary Meyers Decorative Arts, which focuses on interior design, object design, painting, illustration, and soft sculpture (coming soon). Their new book, Wary Meyers' Tossed & Found: Unconventional Design from Cast-offs is a DIY trip through their world of yard saling and resourceful repurposing. Out now from Stewart, Tabori, and Chang.