Tag Archives: Art

  1. 06.24.14
    What We Saw
    In Norway

    If anyone needed proof this year that Scandinavia had quietly usurped London’s status as the world’s hottest contemporary design scene, it could be found at the Salone del Mobile in April, where the presentation that Danish brand Hay put on, complete with a pop-up shop and an utter madhouse of a cocktail party, was pretty much the talk of the town. It’s entirely thanks to the rise, in the past few years, of not just Hay but brands like Menu, Ferm Living, One Nordic, Muuto, Gubi, and Design House Stockholm, all of whom are working with emerging talents across the region. As we’ve watched the Nordic scene grow, we’ve managed to pay visits to Sweden (three times), Denmark (twice), and Finland (once, in the dead of winter, natch) — even to Iceland, for its DesignMarch festival three years ago. That left Norway as our personal holy grail, made doubly intimidating because of its famed reputation for being outrageously expensive. Two weeks ago, as you may have noticed on Instagram, we finally took the plunge.

  2. 06.21.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of June 16, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week was all about color treatments: chemically chromated mirrors, ombre lampshades, colored smoke, brushstrokes, glazes, and good old-fashioned paint daubs.

  3. 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.

  4. 06.16.14
    8 Things
    COS’s 50 Things From America Project

    Each spring when we head to Milan, there are two must-see stops on our agenda that aren’t strictly part of the furniture fair circuit. The first is lunch at the no-frills Latteria, where we gorge ourselves on raw artichokes and lemony pasta with chili peppers. The second is the COS flagship on Corso Venezia, where we’ve been known to spend hours stocking up on the kind of simple, directional wardrobe staples that are the London-based brand’s bread and butter. For years, COS has been the secret weapon of pretty much every design-world tastemaker we know, and it’s become an excellent source as well for keeping up with what’s new in art and design, what with its print magazine from the people behind Fantastic Man and its blog highlighting work by talents like Chen Chen & Kai Williams, Charlie Schuck, and Julian Renault. When we heard COS was finally coming to America — stores in New York and L.A. are forthcoming this fall, and an e-commerce site is already up and running — we were thrilled. To celebrate the launch in its inimitable fashion, COS recently launched a project called “50 Things: A Collection of Things We Love From America,” which includes a mix of Sight Unseen regulars (Bec Brittain, Doug Johnston), amazing new discoveries (we’re obsessing over Utah’s Daniel Everett), and odes to some of the country’s most beautiful examples of architecture and natural phenomena.

  5. 06.07.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of June 2, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: Bauhaus auction fever, turquoise table mania, and a 1:1 drawing of the biggest pinecone you’ve ever seen.

  6. 05.19.14
    The Essentials
    Creative Women at Work: Kyle DeWoody

    If there weren’t already plenty of reasons for us to love Kyle DeWoody — her friendliness, her amazing taste, the fact that she’s not afraid to rock a baseball cap — she’s also a poster child for blurring disciplinary boundaries, something we’ve long championed as well. She even named her company after the idea: She explains Grey Area, the online gallery she founded with Manish Vora in 2011, as “the undefined space between art and design, where art is made functional and the functional is made art.” Even her own background has defied any categorization: Before founding Grey Area, she moved from curating to art consulting to design to film production and journalism. (In fact, DeWoody hooked up with Vora when he was running the arts website Art Log, for whom she used to write.) Her wide-ranging interests are in part what make Grey Area so great — the gallery sells everything from plush, hand-stitched Sharpies to elegant leaning brass bar carts, from plaster iPhone pillows by Snarkitecture to cat-themed beach towels by Andrew Kuo. DeWoody is constantly scouting new talent from unexpected sources, so for our Creative Women at Work series with Shinola, we got in touch to find out exactly how she does it. Here are some of her workplace essentials.

  7. 05.18.14
    What We Saw
    At Collective 2 and Frieze New York 2014

    A little more than a week ago, we were eyeball-deep in preparations for our Sight Unseen OFFSITE show, which runs for two more days in New York City. We had insurance permits to apply for, electricity installations to oversee, and staffers to train, but we were still determined to drag ourselves away long enough to see two of our favorite shows of the year: the Collective Design Fair, and Frieze New York. And oh, was it worth it — Collective had nearly doubled in size since its first edition last year, and Frieze once again gathered some of the most gorgeous art we’d seen in ages under one roof (not to mention with killer food by the likes of Roberta’s and the Fat Radish). See a small selection of our highlights after the jump, then head over to our Facebook page to see much, much more.

  8. 05.16.14
    Studio Visit
    Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza, Art and Design Duo

    This week, we’re featuring a series of designers, brands, and exhibitors 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.

    Partners in both life and work, Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza share a studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where they run an art practice together as well as a design company called Chiaozza. Yet the first two things they ever collaborated on belonged to neither of those disciplines: One was a stew they made for dinner soon after they began dating — which took so long to cook that joking about it inspired their eventual website name, eternitystew.com — and the other was the pancakes they made the next morning. “We were fascinated by their topography, so we took some printmaking ink, inked up a pancake, and started making monoprints with them,” Frezza recalls. “That was when it began, this idea of turning our everyday life and domestic play into some kind of product or work.” Two and a half years later, it’s still the motivation underlying many of their colorful projects, which they characterize as existing at the “intersection of imagination and the natural world.”

  9. 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.”

  10. 05.03.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of April 28, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: a website that treats industrial supplies as art, an exhibition that treats styrofoam scraps as furniture, and a side table (pictured above) that comes in three flat-pack, numerically based configurations, each more beautiful than the next.

  11. 05.02.14
    At Home With
    Monique Meloche, Chicago Gallerist

    When Monique Meloche took a chance on opening a Chicago gallery back in 2000, she launched with a show called Homewrecker, for which she invited 30 artists to exhibit over all three floors of her Ukrainian Village townhouse. The huge turnout prompted her to find a more permanent spot, as did gentle prodding from her husband. “He was like, ‘Sorry, I don’t want people sitting on my bed watching videos on Saturday when I come home from the gym.’” But while her home is no longer on public view, it remains a kind of lived-in display of contemporary paintings, photography, and sculptural works by artists she represents along with those she simply loves. We were lucky enough to visit recently and get to know Meloche a bit better.

  12. 04.30.14
    Where They've Been
    Chen Chen and Kai Williams at Design Days Dubai

    When Brooklyn design duo Chen Chen and Kai Williams — known for their eccentric experimentation with materials — headed to Brazil two years ago for a residency with the gallery Coletivo Amor de Madre, they learned an important lesson the hard way: Don’t show up in a far-flung country expecting to source all your fabrication supplies at the drop of a hat. Invited to join the same gallery last month for an interactive installation at Design Days Dubai, they brought from home many of the materials they needed to make their new Moonmilk vessels (above), which they constructed live in their show booth from pigmented quick-dry cement slowly dripped onto a substrate. They also left time before the show began to scout working-class areas where, says Chen, “instead of big box stores like Home Depot, you’ll see an entire neighborhood in which one shop only sells plastic and another shop is a carpenter inside this little storefront, where you can say ‘I need pieces of wood cut to this size,’ and he’ll cut it for you.” The rest of their eight-day trip was spent making — and exploring.

  13. 04.26.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of April 21, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: a perfect marriage of plant and pot, a permanent home for a previously nomadic gallery, and a ceramic series inspired by the Fantastic Four.

  14. 04.21.14
    Eye Candy
    Luke Armitstead’s Ceramics

    We discovered the ceramics work of Luke Armitstead — born in Seattle, currently in grad school in Wisconsin — at Johnson Trading Gallery here in New York, where we spotted one of his colorful, organic planters standing sentry just outside the space’s entrance. Yet as it turns out, Armitstead isn’t a designer but an artist who frequently references the built environment. “In my work, one may see colorful fragmented structures, primal bodily forms, architectural models, or funky planters,” says Armitstead, whose inspirations span Antoni Gaudi and Friedensreich Hundertwasser to Sterling Ruby and Thomas Houseago. “However, aside from my organic forms, my projects are driven by structured ideas that seek to relate to, or interact with, a physical landscape or place.”

  15. 04.18.14
    Eye Candy
    New Work by Katharina Trudzinski

    Four years ago, we visited the studio of Berlin-based artist Katharina Trudzinski — who’s also a co-founder of the German fashion label Hui-Hui — to learn more about how she used local scrap wood and street detritus to create sculptural works that fed her textile designs (and vice versa). After visiting her site recently and being impressed by what we saw, we figured it was high time to check back in with Trudzinski to give you an update on what she’s been working on since our last dispatch. See a sampling of her most recent projects after the jump.

  16. 04.17.14
    Studio Visit
    Sally England, fiber artist

    Until recently, you couldn’t hear the word “macramé” without it conjuring up visions of thrift-store place mats, summer camp friendship bracelets, and Mama Cass’s bolero vests. But thanks in part to Sally England, the masterful, Michigan-based, macramé artist who has made distinctly modern, large-scale commissions for the likes of Nike and Ace Hotels, the once nostalgic medium is having another day in the sun.

  17. 04.08.14
    Eye Candy
    John Hogan, Glass Artist

    It goes without saying that not every artist who grows up in Toledo, Ohio, famed birthplace of the American studio glass movement, ends up dedicating their life’s work to that medium. But for John Hogan, that’s exactly what happened — he started experimenting with glass at a young age and, even after relocating to Seattle a few years back, hasn’t stopped since. His personal work, which spans functional objects and sculpture, focuses on the optical qualities of glass; its simple beauty has endeared him to local collaborators like designers Erich Ginder and Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, the latter of whom he’ll be exhibiting with at Sight Unseen OFFSITE this May.

  18. 04.05.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of March 31, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. Today, we temporarily interrupt Seattle Week to bring yo far-reaching news from places like Sweden (clocks and tables made from rejected furniture), Milan (a preview of novelties launching at the upcoming Salone del Mobile, where we’ll be reporting from next week), and the Internets (a rash of color-field abstraction on Instagram).

  19. 04.04.14
    Eye Candy
    Ashley Helvey’s #IRL Exhibition

    Today on the site, we’re giving you a peek inside Seattle creative Ashley Helvey’s home and studio, but we also wanted to show you the results of the work that was being created there during our visit. Last week, at Seattle’s Love City Love art space, Helvey debuted an exhibition with possibly the best name — and best concept — we’ve heard to date: “#IRL (internet shorthand for ‘In Real Life ‘) is Helvey’s exploration and reflection on being an artist in the age of Tumblr, Instagram and the reblog,” the show text reads. “With the vast array of technological opportunities we have to broadcast our identity and redistribute images of art and design, at what point do we create our own content? #IRL presents work created by Helvey, that references images and works from the internet, many of which have been re-posted on her blog, HunterGathererer. These works, brought together under Helvey’s distinct aesthetic and material sensibility, reject the lament that there is really nothing new. Instead, this exhibition celebrates the impact of technology and social media and its wealth of imagery as direct inspiration for creating real and tangible art objects.'”

  20. 04.03.14
    Eye Candy
    Sol Hashemi, Artist

    Growing up in Vancouver, Sol Hashemi was wedded to his father’s camera, dreaming since age six of someday becoming a nature photographer. Now 27 and living in Seattle, however, he may be the farthest thing from it — while he does wield a camera for a living, and occasionally points it at the odd plant or rock, his sculptures and still-life compositions go to great lengths to make them appear as un-natural as possible, marrying them with things like glitter, candy wrappers, and cans of baked beans. His work is all about weird — or not so weird, if you’re a Tumblr devotee — juxtapositions: “By overlaying, erasing, and manipulating images, Hashemi explores how objects communicate and shift meaning through arrangements,” wrote his gallery in a recent release. For his sculptures, it added, “the artist continues to consider and expand upon product displays, size references, and kludges (a colloquialism used to describe inelegant temporary fixes and awkward improvisations) with three-dimensional pieces that coalesce like layers in an image file.”

  21. 04.02.14
    Up and Coming
    Nicholas Nyland, artist

    Nicholas Nyland studied to be a painter for years, first as an undergrad at the University of Washington and then as a graduate at the University of Pennsylvania. But it only took one night for him to figure out that his heart belonged to ceramics. “I discovered ceramics through a friend who invited people over just to play around and make things,” says the Seattle-based artist. “It was like a light bulb went off over my head. It was the best combination of my interests in painting and color and surface, with the immediacy of sculptural practice and the ability to then glaze.”

  22. 04.01.14
    Eye Candy
    Amanda Ringstad, photographer

    Amanda Ringstad is a Seattle-based still-life and product photographer, and though there’s remarkably little written about her on the internet, the information that’s there makes perfect sense the instant you look at her work. She has a BFA in photography and studied sculpture and art theory in graduate school; in practice, this translates to the most arresting images you’ve ever seen of staples, garlic shoots, and those weird foam thingys you put between your toes during a pedicure. She specializes in transforming banal objects into something resembling art; it’s no wonder her clients include people like Refinery 29, Iacoli & McAllister, Starbucks, and Amazon.

  23. 04.01.14
    At Home With
    Iacoli & McAllister

    Here at Sight Unseen, we tend to pride ourselves on the timeless nature of so many of our features. But if you look back at the first time we covered Jamie Iacoli and Brian McAllister, way back in 2010, the article is almost laughably out-of-date. For one, we called Seattle a city that’s “not exactly famous for its flourishing industrial design scene” — which is, of course, the premise behind this entire week. And as for Iacoli & McAllister? Back then, they were better known for powder-coated shop tools and cake pedestals than for the beautifully lightweight and sophisticated furniture that has become their signature (and they hadn’t even begun to make jewelry!). They were so very green back then — only having recently found vendors and retailers to make and sell their work — whereas now they’re like the éminence grise of the Seattle design scene, so entrenched in its visual identity that you can’t remember a time when they weren’t there. What hasn’t changed? When we interviewed them in 2010, the onetime couple had broken up but were still living together. Today, they’re still broken up and living together, though in the intervening years they spent three years living apart.

  24. 03.31.14
    At Home With
    Jill Wenger, Owner of Totokaelo

    For most of us, stores are merely the fleeting destinations wherein we acquire our possessions, while homes are the more permanent spaces where we keep and lovingly display them. But for Jill Wenger, it’s the other way around: Ever since she moved to Seattle in 2001 and founded the cult boutique Totokaelo at just 26 years old, her store has been her material and spiritual base, while her living situation has remained mercurial. “I love change and generally don’t stay in any apartment or home longer than a year,” says the Texas native. Even as we interviewed her for this piece — which contains the first-ever published photos of one of her domestic interiors — she already had one foot out the door. Despite initially falling in love last May with her current apartment for its location — in Capitol Hill, three minutes away from Totokaelo — as well as its original hardwood floors and leaded-glass doors, Wenger is in the midst of searching for something new.

  25. 03.31.14
    Sight Unseen Presents
    It’s Seattle Week!

    People always ask us about the American design scene, and for the longest time, inquiring after American design was just shorthand for trying to figure out what was happening in New York. It’s not that design wasn’t happening in other places; it just wasn’t happening at a scale and with a voice that would make it cohere into something bigger than itself. But oh, how that’s changed in the last five years. Ask us about American design, and we’ll talk your ear off about the amazing ceramics coming out of Los Angeles, or the interesting material experiments happening in Chicago, or Jonah Takagi, who’s singlehandedly making “D.C. design” happen. But the city we’re really, really excited about right now? Seattle.

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