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Photo: Sam West, founder of the Museum of Failure, poses with a Chinese sex doll at his exhibition in the A+D Museum in downtown LA. (Avishay Artsy)

Cake as art 7 MIN, 49 SEC

Baker Jack Phillips decorates a cake in his Masterpiece Cakeshop
in Lakewood, Colorado, September 21, 2017
Photo by Rick Wilking/Reuters

Today the Supreme Court heard arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the case involving a Colorado baker named Jack Phillips who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, citing religious objections.

Phillips, jokingly referred to by a commentator as the "Bernini of buttercream," says that being forced to make these men a wedding cake violates his right to free speech. The couple claims it's discrimination. Phillips also refuses to make cakes for Halloween.

But can you be a cake "artist" if you limit your clientele? And are you an artist if you stick with traditional wedding cake designs like the three-tiered layer cake with white frosting and sugar flowers?

DnA gets some insights from LA-based cake-makers Clémence Gossett and Kody Christiansen.

Gossett says that "anybody who works in food is really working from their soul and creating something out of nothing. And deciding who can consume it and who can appreciate your art doesn't really fall into the ethos of art."

Kody Christiansen manages the Cake and Art bakery in West Hollywood and delivered the cake to the first gay wedding to be celebrated in California in 2008.

He talk about the ethics and artistry of cake making, and describes the decorated layer and sculptural cakes his bakery has created for Jackass, Jessica Biel, Hugh Hefner and the Getty Center.

He says, "If you consider yourself a master artist or an artist in general your mind should be open to all sorts of beauty. Your job is to make cakes and it's to make beautiful cakes and to make the person on the other side of the counter happy."

Clémence Gossett, The Gourmandise School (@gourmandisela)
Kody Christiansen, Cake and Art (@kodykitty)

Supreme Court appears skeptical of Colorado baker's refusal to make a wedding cake for gay couple
Justices sharply divided in wedding cake case
Op-Ed: The 'gay wedding cake' case isn't about religious freedom or free speech
LA Weekly slideshow: Cake and Art in WeHo

The Museum of Failure 10 MIN, 6 SEC

Ford overhyped the Edsel when it was introduced in 1957.
Customers thought it was ugly and overpriced, and the name
became synonymous with corporate failure.
Photo by Avishay Artsy

"Trump: The Game," the Betamax cassette recorder, Bic for Her pens, the Delorean car, Olestra, Pepsi Crystal, not to mention Google Glass and a Chinese sex doll for rent called "Shareable Girlfriend." These are some of the 100 or so concepts on display at a new pop-up museum called the Museum of Failure, located at the A+D Museum in downtown LA.

DnA tours the exhibition with its founder Samuel West, a clinical psychologist and an "innovation researcher," and finds out what connects the over-hyped products and ideas that crash the moment they hit the stores, that are short lived and that are launched before their time.

Despite a trend in Silicon Valley to wear start-up failures like a badge of honor, generally, says West, "as a society we worship success and the more we worship success the more failure gets stigmatized. And I think this museum says let's re-evaluate failure, it hurts and it's nothing we want but it's something that we can actually learn from, if we're willing to talk about it."

Samuel West, Museum of Failure

What designers can learn from the Museum of Failure (yes, it exists)
Coca-Cola blaK? Apple's Newton? Six big flops at the Museum of Failure pop-up, now in LA
From tidal to Trump University: the museum that remembers major failures
Five epic flops to see at the Museum of Failure exhibit

Syd Mead and Craig Hodgetts 9 MIN, 12 SEC

A concept drawing by Syd Mead of a futuristic street scene for "Blade Runner" (1982)

Syd Mead envisioned the Spinner flying police cars in Blade Runner, the Light Cycles in Tron and the U.S.S. Sulaco in Aliens. His fingerprints are also on the built universes these vehicles inhabit.

Now he and architect Craig Hodgetts have published a new book The Movie Art of Syd Mead: Visual Futurist and together they talk to DnA about Mead's talent for creating a "plausible reality" in movie worlds, as well as what's around the corner in lived reality: avatars taking our meetings for us; cities reshaped by self-driving cars and super-powerful graphene to hold up buildings.

Hodgetts, who will chat with the 84-year-old Mead at SCI-Arc Tuesday night, tells DnA that Mead has a unique ability to "look into the crystal ball and not create a fantasy image, but create a future image and a future reality, which is very firmly based on our physical laws and on the environment that we exist in now."

He does this through "just hypnotic and extremely visceral images" made "with the simplest of tools: a colored pencil and a piece of paper."

Syd Mead, "visual futurist"
Craig Hodgetts, Hodgetts + Fung / UCLA (@HodgettsandFung)

Blade Runner and the power of sci-fi world-building
Blade Runner's 2019 Los Angeles helped define the American city of the future
The man who designs future worlds
Inside Syd Mead's visions of the future, from Blade Runner to Tron
How Blade Runner artist Syd Mead designed Las Vegas of 2049

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