Archive for the ‘FILMMAKERS’ Category

Combination Pillow and Crash Helmet

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

artist:  Melissa Stern

filmmaker: Max Friedlich

1970 Combination Pillow and Crash Helmet, S. Young  U.S. patent no. 3,538,508

The pillow crash helmet, originally conceived for use on airplanes, unites notions of comfort and danger into one object.  At once a soft headrest and a protective device, the crash helmet pillow is the accessory of choice whether sleeping soundly after a long business trip or hurtling to earth.

La Vie en Rose

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

artist:  Anne Ferrer

filmmaker:  Theodora Johnson

1905 Pneumatic Pillow, L.F. Doellinger  U.S. patent no. 795,108

This inflatable work references several categories of colossal pillows typically found in public spectacles such as parades, festivals and carnivals as well as large scale pillows used in a variety of industries. La Vie en Rose, or life in pink, evokes the French chanteuse whose breath can fill or deflate a gargantuan space.

Upholstered Stone

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

artist: Elizabeth Demaray

filmmakers:  Owen Donovan & Takeshi Fukunaga

1950 Adjustable Pillow Block, L.B. McGuffage  U.S. patent no. 2,521,530

Upholstered Stone is part of a series of items that have been upholstered, including discarded shoes, bricks, tin cans, and 10-ton Nike Hercules Missile. The stone was measured, thinly padded, and then upholstered. The upholstery pieces are affixed to the stone without direct attachment, with each seam stressing the object inside. Viewers are invited to consider for themselves if it is really possible to make a stone any softer.


Pillow Pods

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

artist:  Lauren Kogod

filmmakers:  Takeshi Fukunaga & Owen Donovan

1966 Mortician’s Block, C.W. Rector  U.S. patent no. 3,234,623

Alluding to a U.S. patent for a “device by the use of which the mortician can maintain limp body elements of a corpse–head, arms, and feet, in particular–in a desired attitude,” The Infinite Pillow is constructed of a succession of supportive pods with alternating valleys. These pods can be fabricated to any desired length, and can be arranged in a plurality of positions for the maximum of corporeal comfort.

PIllow Cake

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

artist:  Vadis Turner

filmmaker: Thomas Dudley

1926 Boudoir Pillow, E.G. Sevier  U.S. patent no. Des. 71,533

There is a transformative legacy in handmade objects historically made by women. Over time, ancestral crafts appreciate in value, maturing into heirlooms and later into artifacts that function as cultural currency. The heirloom also serves as a documentation of the artist and her origins in a current cultural context. Thus, the decorative Boudoir Pillow, found in the U.S. patent records, is here transformed into a figurative bridal cake.

BP Beauty Pillows

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

artist:  Meghan Keane

filmmaker:  Michael Keane

1967 Curler Pillow, E. F. Eller U.S. patent no. 3,319,272

Inspired by a pillow patent that strives to keep the curlered heads of women in static perfection, these pillows interpret notions of vanity and comfort with a formal playfulness oscillating between the beautiful and the strange.

Lola Almohada

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

artist:  Paula Barragan

filmmaker:  Fritz Boonzaier

1932 Pillow, N.Arnold  U.S. patent no. Des. 86,345

In Spanish, Lola is a diminutive for Dolores, meaning grief and pain.  This pillow has a name but not an identity.  It is like a guardian angel for all seasons. A tender body pillow for night, comfortable when loneliness and regret float in the darkness, its warm texture carries one safely into the morning light, fullfilling the need for love, company, and caresses. Sometimes, Lola must comfort the sleeping person or wipe an occasional tear.

Pinus Strobus

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

artist:  Barbara Siegel

filmmaker:  Augusta Palmer

1927 Sleeping Pillow, P.J. O’Leary  U.S. patent no. 1,617,822

Pinus Strobus Pillow is based on a patent filed in 1927 by Edward M. Murphy for a sleep-inducing pillow “with an aromatic pocket to be sewn on the surface thereof.”  The particular concept and design of the pillow was inspired by the work of horticulturist Sidney Waxman (1923-2005), who dedicated a lifetime to propagating at least 40 varieties of beautiful and aromatic dwarf conifers.  The scent of pine oil embedded in green pine cone pockets on the surface of the pillow is meant to induce sweet dreams.


HaPiBo Pillow

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

artist:  Helene Renard

filmmaker: Ben Berlin

1970 Combination Pillow and Crash Helmet, S. Young U.S. patent no. 3,538,508

HaPiBo is a multi-functional object made of felt. Smash your face into it, wear it on your head, or pop it into a Priority Mail box and mail it to a friend. This pillow is from a line of works tailored to shipping containers and reconfigurable for a number of uses.  The pillow can be transformed into another object through a series of folds or simple repositioning.

Pillow Culture Curates

Thursday, February 18th, 2010


Pillow Culture chosen by A.I.R. Gallery , Brooklyn, NY, to guest curate exhibition PILLOW Pageant as as part of their Open A.I.R. curatorial series.

Coming SEPTEMBER 2010

PILLOW Pageant is an online exhibition on the pillow as a cultural artifact and as an engineered object of invention.


Encountered in every phase of life and universally engaged as an aid to sleep, the pillow has escaped scrutiny as a designed object. Though the pillow of pre-industrial cultures has been the subject of some anthropological interest, it is through the realms of art and invention that the modern pillow can be said to have emerged. The pillow has offered critical material for a number of artists such as Andy Warhol’s mylar pillows, Yayoi Kusama’s “Pillow” or Rei Naito’s “Pillows for the Dead.” The pillow has also been the object of a sustained effort at improvement and invention. Patent submissions document attempts to improve the pillow – to augment, support, and protect the body – as well as to invent new types of pillows. When taken together, the pillows of artists and inventors offer a record of changing notions of comfort, hygiene, beauty and intimacy. “Pillow Pageant” seeks to draw upon these two strains of pillow- making as a means to catalog a cultural history of the pillow.

When looked at chronologically, patents for new and/or improved pillows serve to index social movements and developments in material science that highlight a broad scope of cultural concerns. Pillow patents touch every aspect of life such as birth, nursing, smell, cleanliness, sleep, temperature, wrinkles, flotation, posture, luxury, leisure, and death. Pillow patents from the 1920s offer an insight into the extent of the scientific management movement’s attempts to redesign the domestic interior. Although primarily known for the reconfiguration of the kitchen and bathroom along principles of maximizing efficiency of movement and mechanizing a new standard of hygiene, the selection of pillow patents demonstrates how scientific management entered into the redesign of the bedroom by attempting to “solve the problem” of germ-free sleep exemplified by Nicholas Schenk’s 1927 “Sanitary Pillow” (patent no. 1,680,069). Patents of the 1940s and 1950s chart social concerns regarding leisure, beauty and maternity evident in the examples of Yvonne Bersia Snyder’s 1946 “Beauty Pillow” (patent no. 2,533,526), Vera Lobel and Samuel B. Hirsh’s 1944 “Pillow and Cushion Accessory” and Arnetta Leto and Fanny Bartnick’s 1951 “Pregnancy Abdominal and Casing Pillow” used to ease discomfort during birth (patent no. 2,562,725).

The online exhibition will juxtapose one minute films of contemporary artist designed pillows with patent drawings culled from the United States Patent Office website. Selected from the over fifteen thousand patents filed under “pillow,” from the earliest 1897 “Ornamental pillow slip,” to the most current 2009 “Bathtub Pillow,” the patent drawings will serve as a thematic and conceptual framework for the contemporary artist/inventor pillows, briefly charting the historical and technological inventions of the pillow. The artist/inventor pillows being considered for exhibition range from one-of-a-kind “experimental” pillows to unlimited edition pillows. In conflating patent drawings with contemporary pillows, the exhibition shifts the emphasis of the pillow as accessory to the pillow as an object with a protean ability to embody a culture’s therapeutic values as well as maladies.