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Design: Have You Seen This Graphic Artist?

Tibor Kalman's last project arrives via a new medium -- milk cartons.

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Does this smell okay to you? even if that half-gallon of milk in your fridge isn't past its sell-by date, it may be tainted with gently subversive aesthetics. This month, a million cartons of Parmalat milk will carry a blurry image of a smiling, slightly nerdy-looking guy, the designer Tibor Kalman, who died last year of lymphoma. Around the picture appears the declaration TIBOR SAYS EVERYTHING IS AN EXPERIMENT. It's a tribute to him by Creative Time, the "public art" group that puts on those D.J. events under the Manhattan Bridge and projected a big video of New Yorkers onto the side of 2 Columbus Circle last month. "Tibor was on our board of directors," says Creative Time executive director Anne Pasternak. "When he was dying, he called me into his office, and I asked, 'Is there anything you always wanted to do? Maybe we can do it together.' " Kalman, who'd made a career on his ads for Barnes & Noble and was editor-in-chief of Benetton's Colors magazine, wanted to create an "un-advertising" campaign by posting his cryptic, anti-corporate sayings -- his "Tiborisms" -- on billboards. That idea was way too expensive for Creative Time, but a million milk-carton sides cost only about $7,500. (Originally, CT wanted MONEY ISN'T EVERYTHING, but Parmalat, a $6 billion company, said no.) The New Museum helped pay for the ads, which also promote its current "Tiborocity" retrospective. That's right -- even from the Great Beyond, Kalman, a master of publicity as well as of design, knows how to milk it.


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