ART DESIGN RULES ART COLOGNE
By definition, avant-garde artists know no boundaries, so it’s no surprise that some of the most interesting design being done today is coming from artist’s studios and being shown at art galleries. For instance, the 41st installment of Art Cologne, Apr. 18-22, 2007 -- the venerable Germanocentric art fest has moved from the fall to the spring -- features an entire section called "Open Space," in which artists and dealers have been encouraged to install their wares outside of the "frame" of the art-fair booth.
The result is plenty of art-and-design hybrids -- and they’re selling like hotcakes. For the space of Galerie Meyer Kainer from Vienna, the irrepressible Franz West has supplied a suite of four chairs, each made of steel rebar and woven with colorful fabrics, as well as a circular love-seat couch that he calls a Pouf (which translates as "poof" and also puns on "puf," or "bordello"). The chairs are in constant production by the artist -- they’re actually made in Vienna, not Guatemala or the Philippines -- and cost €3,000 apiece, or €3,500 for one with arms. The Pouf is €30,000.
Nearby, the booth of Galerie Bärbel Grässlin from Frankfurt is featuring four free-form chandeliers made entirely of velcro by Tobias Rehberger, an artist who is famous for working on the border between sculpture and functional design. Typically, Rehberger’s lamps are connected via the internet to lighting systems in other cities, so that they turn off and on in synchronization with some far-off place. These ones, however, respond to a simple switch. They’re priced between €8,000 and €10,000 and are all sold.
Last but not least, London dealer Kenny Schachter has literally sold the seats right out from under himself, as buyers snapped up the suite of five Tongue in Cheek chairs in his booth by Peter Harvey, a 50-yeary-old Britisher who lives in Berlin. They were €5,000 each, in pink, orange, yellow, white and red. A prototype of the chair is slated to appear in the design sale at Phillips, de Pury & Co. in late May.
CRYSTAL FURNITURE AT ICFF
The 2007 edition of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York, May 19-22, 2007, is going to be dripping in crystals. In addition to presenting 600 exhibitors, the 19th-annual ICFF features 20 prototypes for functional objects that incorporate crystals, a collaboration between the Austrian cut-glass powerhouse Swarovski and the students in the "Furniture Design" department at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Among the highlights are a woven wood-and-crystal floor mat by Heidi Cho, a paper bowl embedded with crystal by Chris Tolles, a crystal-laminated lamp by Ann Adams and an extremely uncomfortable looking chair studded with crystals by Maria Gmuca. See www.icff.com for more info.
LOEWY SCRAPBOOK AT THE PARRISH
The influence of Raymond Loewy -- the French-born industrial design legend who shaped the look of clients from Coca-Cola to NASA -- is, of course, undeniable. The press release for the current show "Raymond Loewy: Designs for a Consumer Culture," Apr. 1-May 27, 2007, at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, N.Y. quotes a ‘50s magazine as saying "Loewy has probably affected the daily life of more Americans than any other man of his time." With this in mind, the Parrish has taken the unique step of launching a "digital scrapbook" on its website where visitors to the show -- or anyone else who "lived through the Loewy era" -- can send their memories. Already up are reflections on Loewy’s designs for Rosenthal china and the Studebaker. The best contributions to the scrapbook will be highlighted in a special event at the Parrish on May 19. See www.parrishart.org for details.
USONIA IN ARMONK, N.Y.
Now that avant-garde architecture is hot, it’s time to take a look at utopian communities. "Frank Lloyd Wright and Usonia: An Experiment in Living," May 5-June 24, 2007, opens at The Studio: An Alternative Space for Contemporary Art in Armonk, N.Y., focusing on the neighborhood that Wright founded in 1937 in Westchester, N.Y. Featuring 47 houses, Usonia was designed to bring people closer to nature -- though some say it also anticipates today’s suburban sprawl. The exhibition includes architectural drawings by Wright and his apprentices, site plans, color renderings of houses, as well as statements by founding members of the community. It’s curated by Johanna Cooper, a 35-year resident of Usonia.
THE SIMS IN CHELSEA
Called "In the Hands of Artists" or "Parsons Does the Sims," depending on who you talk to, the new exhibit opening at the Chelsea Art Museum, Apr. 19-May 12, 2007, takes on the phenomenally popular video game The Sims. Students at Parsons the New School for Design were asked to address the game in whatever way they could think of, and the results include real life painting, sculpture and fashion design, as well as "machinima," that is, animations created using tools provided within the game’s software. "What we’re hoping to do is find ways that people can use The Sims to be more creative," said Mary Beth Haggerty, development director for Electronic Arts (the production company behind the game and sponsor of the event). According to the Parsons website, "machinima. . . has never been in such trouble!"
Following its appearance in New York, the display continues to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and Otis College of Art and Design in L.A.
GLUCKMAN MAYNER TO REDESIGN COOPER-HEWITT
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s $33-million expansion and renovation is to be headed up by Gluckman Mayner Architects. On tap for the renovation is a reworking of the current headquarters -- the former mansion of Andrew Carnegie -- and adjacent townhouses owned by the museum, upping the available exhibition space from 10,000 to 18,000 square feet. Gluckman Mayner has previously helmed the design of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the upcoming "Perelman Building" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The Cooper-Hewitt is also expanding their website to include online access to the museum’s collection, lesson plans for teachers and educational games and forums for networking by design professionals.
NEW NAME FOR GLASS MUSEUM
The Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Wa., has dropped its former tagline, "International Center for Contemporary Art." It is now simply to be referred to as the "Museum of Glass," or MOG.