Sunday, January 09, 2005


I Dropped My Copy and Now I Can't Find It

The Times of London reviews Hardy Blechman's Disruptive Pattern Material, an "astonishing, monumental, exhaustive and exhausting" encyclopedia of camouflage -- slipcovered in two volumes, and selling for a nosebleed-inducing £100. You're liable to find some heavyweight artists at work inside:

When a belt-fed recoil-operated Maxim gun had a range of several hundred yards, high visibility became a liability for the squaddie more than an operational convenience for the commanding officer. Early in the First World War French soldiers suffered heavy casualties, partly on account of their bright red trousers. Accordingly, a Section de Camouflage was created in 1915, recruiting stage designers and artists. It happened in Germany, too: the painter Franz Marc (who with Kandinsky formed the Blaue Reiter group of Expressionists) designed camouflage for the Kaiser’s army.

Too bad they didn't hire Cubists. Then the war could have ended immediately -- nobody's uniforms would fit.

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