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Artnet Design


by Brook S. Mason
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Are we ready for a new design fair in Manhattan? NYC20 -- otherwise known as the New York 20th Century Art and Design Fair, April 12-25, 2012 -- is pitching its tent in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center, home to the Big Apple Circus. There, fair organizer Dolphin Promotions is partnering with online venture 1st Dibs. A total of 40 dealers are participating, with the preview party benefiting the Bard Graduate Center.

“This is our maiden voyage in New York, and we believe there’s room for a serious design fair in the spring; our fair is exclusively open to 1st Dibs participants,” reported Dolphin president Rosemary Krieger from her Chicago office. Already, Lobel Modern, Trinity House, Silver Fund and Mark McDonald have signed on to participate.

Dolphin also has a hand in the San Francisco Art and Design Show & Sale, Palm Springs’ Modernism Show, Los Angeles’ Modernism Show and the Los Angeles Antiques Show, as well as antique shows held in Chicago, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. 

What's up with PADNY?
Despite launching Pavilion of Art & Design NY (PADNY), the season’s most promising new fair, Franco-American co-producers Patrick Perrin and Sanford Smith might be headed for troubled waters.

Smith, a disgruntled veteran of the groundbreaking Modernism Fair, informed PAD dealers that he had secured November dates and “a five-year contract (from 2012-2016)” for a new art & design show in the Park Avenue Armory. But Perrin now contends that PAD is only scheduled to take place one more time, during November of next year.

Artnet Design caught Smith mid-stride. “As yet, nothing is set in stone,” he said.

Tribeca Wunderkammer
Thierry Despont, who is currently trimming up Bill Gates’ home and has fine-tuned the J. Paul Getty Museum’s interiors, has masterminded the ultimate kunstkammer -- in Tribeca, of all places. There, in the former New York Mercantile Exchange on Harrison Street between Hudson and Greenwich, Despont has curated one of the more enticing exhibitions incorporating antiques and art.

For the “Cabinet de Curiosites,” he has corralled both 17th- and 18th-century boiserie from Paris and Antwerp buildings, as well as rare antique furniture from Steinitz, the Paris gallery known for over-the-top furnishings. Expect dynamite Manolo Valdés sculpture in wood and the late Claudio Bravo’s trompe l’oeil paintings placed alongside Despont’s own Nebula paintings, renditions of planets in glistening oil, priced at a rather conservative $110,000.

Also on view are Despont’s latest assemblage sculptures, which reference beetles and other creatures.

Nendo design collective
The Tokyo-based design and architecture collective nendo is fast becoming a household name. To catch a glimpse of nendo’s artistry, which can be found in virtually every major museum internationally -- from Israel’s Design Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and London’s V&A -- take in the collective’s solo show, currently on view at Manhattan’s Friedman Benda gallery.

“Nendo: scatter shelf” is more high-tech maze than exhibition of routine design objects. The effect of the exhibition, composed of 35 scatter shelves in black acrylic, each priced at $30,000, is “kaleidoscopic,” in the words of nendo founder Oki Sato, 34. Currently, 200 design projects are on their drawing board, with clients including Milan department store Rinascente and an Italian chewing gum wrapper.

“We’re literally living out of a suitcase and designing in airports,” said Sato.

French Flair at Demisch Danant
Chelsea dealership Demisch Danant plans to reveal a lesser-known chapter in the history of the Mobilier National, that particular institution of the Republique Française to which titular heads of France, beginning with the Sun King himself, historically turned in order to furnish their pleasure palaces.

Danant’s exhibition “Mobilier National” features 20 examples of furniture dating from the relatively near-past of 1964-1981. Beginning in 1964, Mobilier created the Atelier de Recherche et Creation (ARC) to promote a distinctively French contemporary style -- and the likes of Pierre Paulin have designed the private apartments of President Georges Pompidou in the Palais de l’Élysée in 1971, among others.

On view in the show are examples of Paulin’s riff on Ming furniture, including his 1981 amarynth Chaise à Palmette. Another must see is Henri Lesetre’s Bureau S.A.D (1969), in ebony with aluminum legs.

BROOK S. MASON is U.S. correspondent for the Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Financial Times and other publications.