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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Martino Gamper’s “Tu Casa, Mi Casa” at The Modern Institute

I can think of plenty of designers whose works I’ve never even seen, or those I’ve only seen from afar, either raised on some plinth or sheltered under a vitrine. I’ve had the lucky opportunity, though, to not only see but experience the work of London designer Martino Gamper: walking under his colorful Chair Arch in the courtyard of London’s V&A museum, or digging my feet into the hand-knotted wool Houseplan Carpet he designed for Nilufar gallery in 2009. It’s especially nice to experience a designer like Gamper’s work in person because there’s always the possibility that the piece you’re seeing is the only one of its kind that will ever exist. Gamper has always maintained that he prefers to create either pieces for unlimited production, like his lopsided Arnold Circus stool, or one-offs — with no middle ground between the two. Most of the work on view at Gamper’s new exhibition, “Tu Casa, Mi Casa” at Glasgow’s Modern Institute, falls into the latter category. The majority of the 69 designs created for the exhibition are wholly unique:
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Salone Satellite at La Rinascente

From now until Christmas, pieces by 11 standout stars from this year's Salone Satellite young designers' showcase in Milan will be on view and for sale at La Rinascente. Considering that the Milan-based department store is basically Italy's version of Barneys, this is kind of a Big Deal for those young designers on the verge of stardom. And if the pieces look like they could actually be part of the same collection, perhaps it's because they all tackle the same theme from last year's Satellite: “Design and Craftsmanship: Together for Industry," a typically Italian name that just means that the designers were tasked with figuring out how to retain traditional craftsmanship techniques and processes while still producing for a mass audience. It's also because many of the items draw from a similar materials palette: "This is a compendium of “poor” materials, ranging from wood to glass, to iron to terracotta, reinterpreted and worked in a surprising fusion of craftsmanship and industrial techniques." We've picked some of our favorites to share with you today.
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AmDC x Outpost Journal: Hometown Homage

Last week, we introduced you to Outpost Journal, a magazine founded by Pete Oyler and Manya Rubinstein that investigates American creative scenes outside the likes of L.A. and New York, focusing on a different secondary city each year. This week, we're showing you the results of the magazine's recent collaboration with the American Design Club, which invited young designers to reflect on their own hometowns across the country, no matter how large or small. Exhibited earlier this month at the ever-changing New York boutique Story, as part of its Made in America showcase, the project — Hometown Homage — included a dozen or so objects intended to celebrate "the origins of our creative identities," as AmDC co-founder Kiel Mead put it in the call for entries. "As creative professionals, the environments from which we come – whether a farm, small town, or large metropolis – help to shape our worldview. The AmDC challenged designers to look retrospectively at their hometown experiences to design an object that reflects their heritage, paying homage to their past with skill sets honed in the present." The show itself closed on Friday, but Sight Unseen picked our favorite pieces to share with anyone who didn't have the pleasure of seeing them in person.
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Oscar Wanless for Riess, at Vienna Design Week

Oscar Wanless is one half of Silo Studio, the London twosome whose unorthodox investigations into industrial materials have graced Sight Unseen more than a few times. But when I met up with him during last month’s London Design Festival, I found that his latest solo project was also more than worth a mention. For this year’s Vienna Design Week, Wanless worked with Riess, a ninth-generation enamelware company based in Ybbsitz, a small town in southern Austria. The factory has been knocking out metal pots and pans since 1550, and enamelling them at its Austrian headquarters for nearly a hundred years as well. Wanless came on board to disrupt the company’s tried, tested, and perfected process.
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Jonathan Muecke for Volume Gallery

Jonathan Muecke makes me anxious. I love his work so much, but I don't entirely know what it means. I love his work so much, but he barely makes any of it. I love his work so much, but I don't understand what he's doing up there in Minneapolis, keeping mostly to himself. However I suppose it's appropriate that he would cultivate the same cool, detached, mysterious air as his pieces, which — when I interviewed him for W magazine back in 2011, the first time he launched a collection with Volume Gallery — he described as "relational objects," things with unfamiliar but contextual functions like "scrambling everything in a room" or "behaving like a mass — something you don't really want to think about." To that end it may be equally appropriate (if not semi-amusing) that on the occasion of Muecke's second show with Volume, opening tonight in Chicago, curators Sam Vinz and Claire Warner asked a psychiatrist rather than a writer to interview him for the catalog, who probed him about equalizing and collapsing before concluding that "I find everything we’ve discussed completely logical, yet strange ... in the true sense of something not yet encountered, or still unknown." We've excerpted a few key moments from the conversation between Muecke and Dr. Brian Stonehocker after the jump, alongside images of all six pieces from the new series.
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Jesse Moretti at Mondo Cane

A few weeks ago, someone on our Facebook page coined the term "zigzag expressionism" to describe the current prevailing aesthetic in art and graphic design. At the time, we laughed, gave the comment a thumbs up, and moved on. But in the weeks since, the phrase has stuck with us — and never more so than when we caught a glimpse on Instagram of the work of recent Cranbrook MFA grad Jesse Moretti, on view now at Mondo Cane gallery in New York. What we like about this phrase in general is its laughable obviousness, but in the context of Moretti's work it actually does describe not only a visual language but a thematic one as well.
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