Sifting The Trash: A History Of Design Criticism by Alice TwemlowSifting The Trash: A History Of Design Criticism by Alice Twemlow

Sifting The Trash: A History Of Design Criticism

byAlice Twemlow

Hardcover | May 19, 2017

Pricing and Purchase Info

$38.29 online 
$45.50 list price save 15%
Earn 191 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


How product design criticism has rescued some products from the trash and consigned others to the landfill.

Product design criticism operates at the very brink of the landfill site, salvaging some products with praise but consigning others to its depths through condemnation or indifference. When a designed product's usefulness is past, the public happily discards it to make room for the next new thing. Criticism rarely deals with how a product might be used, or not used, over time; it is more likely to play the enabler, encouraging our addiction to consumption. With Sifting the Trash, Alice Twemlow offers an especially timely reexamination of the history of product design criticism through the metaphors and actualities of the product as imminent junk and the consumer as junkie.

Twemlow explores five key moments over the past sixty years of product design criticism. From the mid-1950s through the 1960s, for example, critics including Reyner Banham, Deborah Allen, and Richard Hamilton wrote about the ways people actually used design, and invented a new kind of criticism. At the 1970 International Design Conference in Aspen, environmental activists protested the design establishment's lack of political engagement. In the 1980s, left-leaning cultural critics introduced ideology to British design criticism. In the 1990s, dueling London exhibits offered alternative views of contemporary design. And in the early 2000s, professional critics were challenged by energetic design bloggers. Through the years, Twemlow shows, critics either sifted the trash and assigned value or attempted to detect, diagnose, and treat the sickness of a consumer society.

Title:Sifting The Trash: A History Of Design CriticismFormat:HardcoverDimensions:312 pages, 9 × 7 × 0.69 inPublished:May 19, 2017Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262035987

ISBN - 13:9780262035989


Editorial Reviews

Alice Twemlow's stratigraphy of design criticism from its emergence in the 1950s to the present brilliantly exposes and explores the nascent discipline's struggle to balance the demands for product promotion with those for social critique. If Sifting the Trash is a history of the emergence of the design critic qua professional figure, it is no less a nuanced assessment of the role's fragility in an era in which consumers have been recast as curators and critics of a vastly expanded world of products.