ARTIST: Charles & Raye Eames


I've just partnered with independent booksellers, Powell's Books, to give you, my dear readers, a chance to see my favorite books and, if you want, to buy them. Or any other books, for that matter. Here are a few selections from my list:

Cover_american_photobooth_2 Some are books by artists who have shown at Pine Street Art Works. You can buy Nakki Goranin's American Photobooth,

Cover_fun_home Or Alison Bechdel's Fun Home.

Cover_a_pattern_language Others are some of the books I've loved and learned from over the years.One of my favorites is A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, which has almost a cult following among architects, designers and visionary city planners.

Cover_hollywood_flatlands Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory & the Avant Garde by Esther Leslie,  traces the co-evolution of cartoons and modern art.

Cover_an_orphan_in_history You might be interested in my late brother, Paul Cowan's, An Orphan In History, which traces the roots of our Jewish American family.

Cover_contest_of_meaning If you are interested in photography and critical readings in photography check out The Contest Of Meaning, edited by Richard Bolton or

Coverphotography_on_the_color_line Photography On The Color Line, W.E.B. DuBois, Race and Visual Culture by Shawn Michelle Smith.

Cover_dv For a rollicking good read in fashion, politics, gossip and culture read D.V. by Diana Vreeland,

Cover_palimpsest or Palimpsest: A Memoir by Gore Vidal.

And the other great part of this whole thing is that by buying books through my Powell's booklist, or any other book you click through to on their search engine, you are helping support Pine Street Art Works. Yep, I get a commission on each sale, with no extra cost to you.

Even if you don't want to buy, the list is pretty neat, and you might enjoy it. Just click onto the Powells link on the right sidebar where it says, My Websites.


Charles and Raye Eames are so famous - so iconic - that an entire era has been named after them, at least on eBay. And now there's a new postage stamp collection honoring them.
Eames stamp, charles eames, raye eames
Eames US Postage Stamp- due to be issued next summer

I had the pleasure of meeting Charles, but not Raye, Eames in the late sixties at a  conference at the Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado.  My parents dragged me along that summer, hoping, I suppose, to enjoy some time with their still somewhat rebellious teenager.  One evening Charles screened a film he and Raye had made  -The Powers Of Ten. This was the first version. Nine years later they released a second version.

You can see the second version on youTube.


That evening, Eames took questions from the audience. I had sat spellbound throughout the film. It probably wasn't too easy to capture my imagination that summer, but this film took my breath away. Apparently I managed to ask an intelligent question, because he sought me out after the film. I was with my parents - it was all on the up and up.

After Aspen, my parents and I traveled to Los Angeles where we met up once again with Charles -but not Raye - Eames, to discuss schools, and the design of schools, with someone else who had been at the Aspen Conference. I apologize for my hazy memory here, I don't remember who this other guy was or anything that was said.

Charles eames, raye eames, george platt lynes

Raye and Charles Eames, photo by George Platt Lynes

Later that year I  started working full time at the Pacifica Radio station WBAI-FM in New York City, and was producing their live performance series, The Free Music Store. I scheduled a screening of The Powers of Ten to coincide with an Eames visit to NYC. He was designing a huge exhibit at the time, I think at IBM.

For some reason, I decided to screen early Betty Boop cartoons with The Powers of Ten. For some reason, Charles thought this was a great idea. Remember, this was way before VCRs or DVD, and Betty Boop was not seen often on TV or anywhere else.

Amy Crehore loves Betty, too. Check out her blog

Charles and I spent part of the afternoon together while he showed me the exhibit he was putting together. Later in the evening, I picked him up at his hotel and we went over to the hall we'd rented. This was before WBAI started having concerts in the renovated church we later used for studios, offices and productions.

We screened the film to a packed audience. Charles spoke and answered questions. After the screening, we parted, and I never saw him again.

Almost forty years later, it still amazes me that this design genius was kind enough, interested enough, and open enough, to appreciate the ideas of a nineteen year old just beginning to make her way in the world as an adult. He never condescended to me. On the contrary, he took me and my ideas seriously. What better way could there be for a young person to enter into the grown up world of design and information.

My deepest thanks and yes, love, to Charles Eames.

Go buy some stamps! (when they're issued, that is.)