American Design Hot List 2019
Matthew Day Jackson
New York, @matthewdayjackson
Matthew Day Jackson was already a successful multi-media artist — represented by Hauser & Wirth — when he officially crossed over into design this year, with the release of his first commercial furniture collection in Milan: loopy tables and chairs for Made By Choice, inspired by moon landings and Formica. He also stole the show in The Future Perfect’s booth at Design Miami in December with his hand-formed “Wonky” series.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
I don’t really know anything about contemporary American design, but I’m learning. I like what I see from Ladies and Gentleman, Calico, Chen and Kai, Chris Wolston, and my partner Laura Seymour who makes amazing ceramics. I don’t have my finger on the pulse of American design, but I feel that because we don’t celebrate the visual artist, nor have a particular design language, the industry feels to me to be a very open playing field. Contemporary American art seems to recognize the boundaries of conventions mapped by art history, but carries a pole vault, a battering ram, lube, scuba gear, a warm set of clothes, etc to be prepared in the event of an encounter. I think contemporary American Design might be the same — or at least it feels similar.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
I’m working on some super top-secret projects that are so sensitive I would be risking my family’s well being if I were to state them here. I can give a hint though: One is a wall covering and the other makes shimmery light. I’m having a show in Zurich with my gallery Hauser & Wirth in the fall of 2020, and I’m designing a playground for a wonderful project which is also top secret. I’m also trying really hard to make electric go-karts with my kids. In my collaboration with Made By Choice, we’ll be furthering the Kolho collection with a very cool change in the plywood. Also top secret: I’m trying to release the second edition of Maa, a role-playing game I developed with Juhanna Petersen, Tom Morton, and Timo Valjakka. All of these projects may fail miserably — it will not be for lack of trying!
What inspires or informs your work in general?
I’m currently in love with Rodin’s Gates of Hell, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Claudia Martinez Garay at Grimm Gallery, Nicole Eisenman’s sculpture that was in the Whitney Biennial, Bernie’s persistence, my mom, and trying to find the perfect liquid tusche mixture to produce the best reticulation on paper.