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  1. 02.25.15
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Barbara Kasten at the ICA Philadelphia

    If Barbara Kasten’s colorful, angular compositions look as though they could have been arranged just last week by some prop stylist in Los Angeles — well, consider that a testament to Kasten’s massive, if massively underappreciated, influence. The Chicago-based artist and photographer is currently the subject of a long overdue solo exhibition at Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art; Stages spans five decades of work, from fiber sculptures to cyanotype prints to set design to a brand-new, site-specific installation that plays beautifully with the ICA’s interior architecture. For us, though, the exhibition’s highlight is the 1980s-era Constructs series, for which Kasten photographed theatrical assemblages incorporating elements such as metal, wire, mesh, mirrors — not to mention life-sized squiggles, cones, triangles, and columns made from plaster or wood. Constructs blurred the line between object and image and set the stage for nearly every photo shoot you see on blogs like this one today. Kasten was influenced by the Bauhaus, California Light and Space, and Postmodernism, and the program for her exhibition includes a conversation between Peter Shire and Martino Gamper. Considering the previous sentence includes five of our favorite things, you’ll know where to find us come March 25: on the next train to Philly.

  2. 02.09.15
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Doty/Glasco at CES Gallery

    We had never heard of the photography husband-and-wife team of JR Doty and Joe Glasco — or the LA gallery CES — before this exhibition announcement arrived in our inbox today, but as soon as we saw the photos we were hooked. The two photographers began collaborating professionally back in 2013, and their current work draws from an archive of more than 40,000 images that were taken on a road trip across America over the last year. Doty and Glasco photographed specific locations, like Utah and California, because of their unique geological conditions. “The images represent the essence of nature with an emphasis on the phenomena of time as it affects the landscape’s topography, such as rippling water, striations of marble and the constant changing of landforms,” the press release reads.

  3. 01.30.15
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Örnsbergsauktionen 2015

    Exhibition curators often face a funny dilemma: The more successful they become, the more great people start clamoring be involved in their projects, which ultimately only makes their selection process that much harder. Hence why the minds behind the Swedish design auction Örnsbergsauktionen — which for the past four years has consistently been pretty much the most amazing thing coming out of Stockholm Design Week — decided to tighten the curatorial reins this year, not only requiring that their 30 participants be designers who self-produce their own work in small batches but also leaning heavily towards the ones who work collectively or invent their own materials and processes. Once they managed to narrow their list down to the lucky few, which this year includes folks like Maria Jeglinska and Jenny Nordberg — plus of course founders Simon Klenell, Fredrik Paulsen, and Kristoffer Sundin themselves — they let the magic flow, resulting in the 40 objects that will head to the auction block on February 6. As usual, we’ve excerpted our favorites after the jump.

  4. 12.12.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Adi Goodrich at The Standard, Hollywood

    In her day-to-day job as a set designer, Adi Goodrich constructs elaborate environments with her crew on set or in the studio, but the rest of world experiences her work only through photographs. As of last night, however, you can view the Los Angeles designer’s work IRL in an installation on view until the end of December at The […]

  5. 11.07.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Cody Hoyt at Patrick Parrish

    A short post before the weekend that doubles as a public service announcement: If you’re in New York this weekend, you must check out a new exhibition at Patrick Parrish Gallery (formerly Mondo Cane) by one of our favorite rising stars in the ceramics scene, Cody Hoyt. Once upon a time, the Brooklyn-based artist, who has a BFA in printmaking, was known primarily as an illustrator and painter; two years ago he made the switch to ceramics, but in his new medium, he retains hints of his former aesthetic. Hoyt’s angular vessels, which are built by hand using traditional slab construction, play with almost origami-like forms. And while he had previously been making small planters better suited to tiny succulents, the new show, entitled Heavy Vessel, enabled him to go big. (Some of the new pieces are nearly two feet tall). “I had been searching for a way to alter my process to enable me to work at a larger scale,” Hoyt explains, “and for this show, I figured out a new way to go about building my work and also firing it differently. I’ve also experimented more with surface for this show. It sounds odd since my pieces have always had extreme surfaces, but I’ve been experimenting with patterned inlay with controlled lines as opposed to the more incidental chaotic marbled effects. The result is still chaotic but the intent is there.” On view until December 6.

  6. 11.06.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    A New Layer at Östasiatiska Museet

    Turns out we’re not the only ones who have noticed Scandinavia’s re-emergence as a design powerhouse. In 2012, at the behest of the Taiwanese government, the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute invited five Swedish designers — Gabriella Gustafson and Mattias Ståhlbom of TAF, Matti Klenell, Stina Löfgren, and Carina Seth Andersson — to visit their country in order to work with craftsmen to explore the world of lacquer techniques. From Taiwan’s point of view, the project was meant to boost interest in their native lacquer craft and to investigate the effects of combining lacquer work with Scandinavian design. But it was also a very savvy business decision: “Many producers in Taiwan are curious about the performance of IKEA, Muuto, and Hay ━ the entire Scandinavian success story,” says Klenell. “A lot of questions have been asked about that kind of thing: ‘How can we learn about design, how can we start up businesses?'” The impact of the collaboration on Taiwanese design culture is still to be seen, but the physical results will be on view starting next Tuesday and until February 8 at Stockholm’s Östasiatiska Museet, or the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities.

  7. 10.29.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    The I’m Revolting Stone Show at Kiosk

    A few weeks ago, I got an email from our friend Su Wu at I’m Revolting, asking if I’d be part of a show she was putting together for Kiosk. “Will you send me a stone?” she asked. “The show is of rocks; everybody loves looking at rocks! Me too: you know I move slowly on beaches. It can be a pebble from your morning walk or a pretty specimen, craggy or river-smooth, petrified, funny holes.” As someone whose daily routine hardly deviates from a straight line through the East Village, I didn’t have anything particularly suitable. But starting this week at Kiosk (and on Instagram at #stoneshow) you can find out who did. The results were delightfully inventive and weird: Albert Chu from OTAAT sent hot-pink Pop Rocks; Doug Johnston sent a solid piece of aluminum made from melted beer cans that people had thrown into a campfire; and Bari Ziperstein’s rock crystal, which dissolves in water, can only be cleaned with smelly vats of brine. Some of them were also surprisingly moving: “Lauren Ardis found her rock in Bolinas; it has a heart shaped indent in the back,” Wu says. “She used to make fun of her mom for collecting heart-shaped rocks; now, she laughs about getting more sentimental with age.” The rocks will be exhibited at Kiosk’s new location at 540 LaGuardia Place and placed at the base of a tree outside the shop when the exhibition ends. Here’s a snapshot of the submissions.

  8. 10.23.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Pool at Interieur Biennale

    Vase Trophé ©POOL
    Here’s the truth: We haven’t visited France in nearly a decade, and though we know there’s a scene there full of wonderful young talents on the verge of something huge, we’d be hard pressed to dissect it with the same kind of intimate knowledge that we bring to the players on our own soil. That said, if there’s one studio we’ve kind of been obsessing over lately, it’s Pool — the Paris-based duo of Léa Padovani and Sébastien Kieffer, who met while working for designer Noe Duchaufour-Lawrence. As Pool, they’ve created products for La Chance, Petite Friture, and Gallery S. Bensimon, and in Kortrijk this week, at the Interieur Biennale, they’re gathering their best work together under one roof. The exhibition Walk the Line, on view until Sunday, includes previous favorites, like their hammered copper and painted metal Maillet lamp, as well as never before seen works like the green Trophé vase at the top of this post. Go see it if you’re in the area, and if you’re not, keep an eye on this page for great things coming down the pike and read on for even more fantastic images.

  9. 10.15.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Lawrence Laske at Wright: Design Studio & Collected Works

    Before we began Sight Unseen five years ago, Monica and I worked for the beautiful but now-defunct design magazine I.D. And though we were helping to run one of the most venerable design publications in the country, in hindsight, we were mere babies in terms of our design education. Which is perhaps why, when we received an entry to our annual competition for a molded plastic beach chair by a designer named Larry Laske back in 2008, the name failed to ring a bell. But maybe it wasn’t purely our ignorance. After all, Laske is the classic case of a behind-the-scenes designer who ought to be much more famous than he is. The creative mind behind two classic pieces for Knoll in his own right (the ‘90s-era Toothpick and Saguaro tables) Laske also worked for years alongside Ettore Sottsass, and designed incredible prototypes with some of the world’s most famous designers: Ingo Maurer, Philippe Starck, and Matteo Thun, among them. Next week at Wright, an online-only auction will be held to benefit Laske’s foundation, A Brain Tumor and A Dream.

  10. 09.16.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    “Another Cats Show” at 356 Mission

    “Another Cats Show” may have started as a one-liner, but that doesn’t mean it fails to land the joke. The exhibition, which closed this week at the Los Angeles gallery 356 Mission, included feline-themed pieces from 301 artists and proved that what they say about die-hard cat lovers is pretty much true: They may be crazy, but they also totally mean it. “People assume cats will be funny,” says Ooga Booga founder Wendy Yao, a partner in the space. “It is casual and inclusive, and gives artists a chance to do something not quite as monumental.”

  11. 09.09.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Future Tropes at Volume Gallery

    “Timeless” is probably the most overused — and abused — word in design in recent years, typically employed by designers in the context of sustainability in order to imply that a piece has such a classic look or function that its expected longevity can somehow justify its existence in a sea of wastefulness and overproduction. Future Tropes, a new group show that opened this past weekend at Chicago’s Volume Gallery, approaches the concept of timelessness from a very different angle, however: “The work should be slightly ahead of the world, slightly un-contemporary, setting the stage for future codes yet operating in a place that precedes our ability to apply language to those codes.” (—Jan Verwoert, as adjusted by RO/LU.) In other words, objects that are equally linked to our prehistoric past and our distant, utopian future. Volume curators Sam Vinz and Claire Warner proposed that brief to Leon Ransmeier, ROLU, Jonathan Muecke, Tanya Aguiñiga, Jonathan Olivares, and Anders Ruhwald, who exchanged ideas on the topic before each creating a custom piece responding to it. See the results after the jump.

  12. 06.30.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Morgan Peck at Jancar Jones Gallery

    When we first took notice of Los Angeles ceramicist Morgan Peck in 2012, it was because she had suddenly become ubiquitous in the concept-shop scene, with her vessels and abstract mini-sculptures popping up at all of our favorite places (Mociun, Totokaelo, Iko Iko). Now that she’s moved into an entirely new territory — the art world — with the opening of her solo show at LA’s Jancar Jones Gallery last week, we figured it was the perfect time to revisit her work. We asked Peck for her thoughts on her change of scenery, and how her sculptures have made the transition from shelf to plinth. “When Ava and Eric offered me the opportunity to have a show at Jancar Jones last February the first thing I thought was: Are you sure?” she says.

  13. 06.18.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Platform at Almine Rech Gallery

    File under so simple it’s genius: This month, the Brussels gallery Almine Rech launched an exhibition, curated by Parisian art critic Nicolas Trembley, that mostly repurposes work from the gallery’s own collection. Called Platform, its primary conceit is a single, 55-foot-long white plinth running the length of the exhibition space, where all of the works on view joust for space, including Gavin Turk’s vinyl-painted Turkey Foil Box, Alex Israel’s marble and Styrofoam fro-yo cup, Andy Warhol’s Brillo box, Ettore Sottsass’s Casablanca bookshelf, and an array of Steuler vases we’re guessing might have come from Trembley’s own collection. Besides highlighting the three-dimensional aspect of the pieces — and making viewers reconsider items they might have passed over if displayed alone — Platform also “establishes a dialogue between the notions of design and contemporary art, objects of consumption, mass culture and subjects of contemplation” and asks the question: “What is an art object and what is the place of the object in art?” We’ve excerpted a few of our favorite images here.

  14. 06.13.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    No Name Design at the Triennale Design Museum

    The collecting of anonymous objects — and the subsequent use of those objects in creating a perfectly styled interior — has become such a staple of modern life that it’s hard to remember a time when not everyone loaded up their vans twice a year at places like Brimfield. But Franco Clivio, a former industrial designer and a lecturer at Zurich’s Schule für Gestaltung, has been amassing such objects for more than four decades. His collection — which numbers into the thousands — is on view starting next week at Milan’s Triennale Design Museum in an exhibition called “No Name Design.”

  15. 06.04.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Norwegian by Nature

    When it comes to contemporary Scandinavian design, the furniture love tends to go to Denmark (Hay, Muuto, Normann Copenhagen) while Finland gets all the attention for its graphic design (Tsto, Lotta Niemenen, Kokoro & Moi). But Norway’s design identity was always a bit more elusive — that is, until recently. This month in New York saw an onslaught of celebrations of Norwegian design, including Norwegian Icons — which celebrated the Nordic country’s contribution to midcentury — and Norwegian by Nature, a survey of emerging talent curated by our friend Paul Makovsky of Metropolis, who criss-crossed the small Nordic country visiting schools, studios, and design fairs to gather a group of 23 design shops on the cusp of stardom. Norwegian by Nature was part of the Inside Norway booth at ICFF, and it was one of our favorite concepts for an exhibition in a long time. Prototypes by the up-and-coming studios (like Silje Nesdal, whose Granit bookends are shown above) were mixed with vintage pieces curated by Oslo-based Fuglen as well as works by more established companies like Roros Tweed and Mandal Veveri. All of the prototypes were having their North American debuts, but we can only hope some brave, deep-pocketed soul will soon put these beauties into production so we can see a whole lot more of them.

  16. 05.13.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    OBJECTS, Curated by Joel Evey

    This week, we’re featuring a series of designers, brands, and exhibitions participating in Sight Unseen OFFSITE, our brand new design fair taking place in New York City this weekend, May 16-20. Click here for more information.

    OBJECTS began, as so many great things do, with Philadelphia-based graphic designer Joel Evey playing around with tool dip: A series of plastic-splattered lamps he made from grappling hooks gave way to an ambiguous dipped “kitchen tool” and, eventually, the curiosity as to how other genre-bending artists and designers he knew and admired were approaching issues of functionality. Last year, he reached out to half a dozen of those peers — ROLU, Chen Chen and Kai Williams, Eric Timothy Carlson, Brendan Timmins, and Alex da Corte — and invited each of them to present him with a piece that redefined or recontextualized the idea of a utilitarian object for the home. “It was loose and broad, but intentionally so,” he says. “The point was to ask people who already existed within this playing field to do something that danced around the idea. The results are all very different.”

  17. 03.19.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Renate Müller at R & Company

    Renate Müller is 68 years old and has been designing children’s toys for half a century, some of which she created for her family’s toy factory in Sonneberg, Germany, in the ’60s and ’70s, and the rest of which she still makes by hand in her nearby studio, as part of the personal line she began in 1978. The materials she uses for that line have stayed exactly the same ever since (jute, wood, leather), as has her process and her policy of working alone, save for the occasional hand lent by her daughter. Many of her animal typologies have remained perennial, too. Yet when it came time to create 26 new pieces for her second solo show at New York design gallery R & Company, which opened yesterday, Müller decided to bust out a pretty major — and amusing — twist: Surrealist creatures with two heads, or no heads, that only someone with a very vivid, childlike sense of imagination could possibly dream up.

  18. 03.12.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Shannon Finley at Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld

    Usually we don’t mind having to share our discoveries in only two dimensions. But here is the rare case when it’s almost a shame we all have to look at these images on the Internet. Canadian-born, Berlin-based artist Shannon Finley, who opened a solo show at Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld’s New York project space last Friday, creates paintings that in person look like some other medium entirely — gleaming metal, stained glass, plastic, etc.

  19. 02.21.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Cray Collective at Stockholm Design Week

    You can sometimes guess at the greatness of an exhibition based purely on its location (a little off-the-beaten track, naturally), or when its roster lists nothing short of five talented up-and-coming designers. With that in mind, it seemed only right to plow the bitter, wintry streets of Stockholm earlier this month to find out more about the new, colorful Cray Collective.

  20. 02.14.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    François Halard at Demisch Danant

    When we think of the legendary Chelsea gallery Demisch Danant, we picture insanely luxurious fur-covered daybeds by Maria Pergay, or foofy round Pumpkin chairs by Pierre Paulin. We think of furniture — not photography. And yet somehow the exhibition on view there now through March 1 makes a perfect kind of sense. The French-born, New York–based photographer François Halard is showing a series of portraits he’s made over the last 20 years of architecture and interiors created by some of the last century’s most significant artists and designers — the Palm Springs house by Albert Frey (top image), the Italian studio of Cy Twombly, the Villa-Noialles by Robert Mallet-Stevens, and, one of our favorites, the Captiva Island home of Robert Rauschenberg.

  21. 02.05.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Ornsbergsauktionen 2014

    If you’re a longtime reader of our site, you might remember that February, despite being utterly gross in the weather department, is one of our favorite months if only for the Ornsbergsauktionen, an artist-run auction house that’s taken place during each of the past three Stockholm Design Weeks. Started by Fredrik Paulsen, Simon Klenell, and Kristoffer Sundin, the auction gathers together limited editions and one-offs from designers we already know and love — Katja Pettersson, Uglycute, Silo Studio, Hilda Hillström — and always introduces us to a handful we can’t wait to Google. This year, in addition to furniture and objects, the three also managed to wrangle works on paper from the Memphis Group’s still-prolific Peter Shire and Nathalie du Pasquier. We’ve included a selection of our favorites below, but for the full catalogue, visit the (gorgeously designed) catalog website or see the objects in person if you’re in Stockholm, on view through Friday!

  22. 02.04.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Kueng Caputo: Never Too Much at Salon 94

    Kueng Caputo’s first moment of fame came a few years ago from a series called “Copy,” where the two design-school friends would purposefully mimic a recently released work from a major talent by creating an exaggerated or distilled fakery of that piece. The process was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek homage to the original artists as well as a way for Sarah Kueng and Lovis Caputo to explore how those pieces had acquired their specific character or value. Whatever lessons they learned from that experiment must have stuck, for in the last two years, the Swiss design duo have released two collections that seem predestined for design greatness.

  23. 01.31.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Thaddeus Wolfe: Unsurfacing at Volume Gallery

    Thaddeus Wolfe’s Assemblage vases looked mysterious enough when he debuted them in 2011, first for sale with Matter and then with a special edition for Chicago’s Volume Gallery — we’d never seen glass before that paired the shape and surface texture of rocks and minerals with amazing fades of opaque color. When we asked him to describe his process to us, it turned out that it was relatively easy to grasp, if not execute: He blew the vessels into faceted plaster-and-silicon molds. His newest take on the series — the Unsurfacing collection for Volume, on view as of tonight — looks even more complicated, layered with fragmented geometric patterns and contrasting colors.

  24. 01.30.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Constantin Boym at UrbanGlass

    For anyone like us who “grew up,” professionally speaking, in the New York design world in the last few decades, it was always with a sense of awareness of and deference to the scene’s elder statesmen. Constantin and Laurene Boym, for example, set up Boym Partners back in 1986, and by the time we started circulating in 2005, they still felt markedly omnipresent, both critically and physically speaking. We suppose that’s why it felt so surprising when these New York stalwarts up and left town in 2010, after Constantin accepted a two-year tenure as director of graduate design studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. They disappeared from New York design events, parties, exhibitions, and talks, only occasionally sending dispatches to their mailing list about life on the other side of the globe. They returned to New York a year ago, but we hadn’t really heard from them until now — with the launch of Constantin’s new exhibition at Brooklyn’s UrbanGlass, “Learning From the East,” which opens this Saturday.

  25. 12.23.13
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Come All Ye Faithful, Curated by Carson Chan

    In our most recent Saturday selects post, we pointed out a recent mini-trend of design exhibitions being staged in residential contexts, including the subject of this post: Come, All Ye Faithful, a show in which Berlin-based curator Carson Chan has replaced all of the objects in Zürich curator Florian Christopher Seedorf’s home with works by his favorite European artists and designers. Opening last month and running through January 12, the exhibition was timed to coincide with the holiday shopping season, when consumerism runs rampant and people are in a state of frenzied acquisition. With Come, All Ye Faithful — which also functioned as a kind of tongue-in-cheek holiday pop-up shop, since everything in it is for sale — Chan wanted to examine the consequences of all that acquiring. “When purchased objects enter the home, they assume new roles, entangling themselves with the lives and emotions of their new owners,” he explains in his curators’ statement. “Come, All Ye Faithful is an exhibition that observes our relationship with the objects we live with.” Chan took time out of his busy holiday schedule to answer a few questions about the project for Sight Unseen.