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Architect-Designed Furniture Showcased at Friedman Benda GalleryMonday 29 January 2018
Architect-Designed Furniture Showcased at Friedman Benda Gallery ⇒ Founded in 2007 by Marc Benda and Barry Friedman, the Friedman Benda Gallery is a home to established and emerging artists alike. Located in New York’s Gallery District in Chelsea, Friedman Benda Gallery is known for championing contemporary, innovative art from a broad range of practitioners including architects, sculptors and furniture designers. From 18 January until 17 February 2018, the gallery is presenting two exhibitions that shine a spotlight on architect-designed furniture. Presented on Friedman Benda’s lower level, No-Thing showcases newly commissioned works from nine emerging architectural practices. Also on view within Friedman Benda’s ground floor gallery is Inside the Walls: Architects Design, a survey of important examples of architect-designed furniture.
Friedman Benda presents its annual guest-curated exhibition Inside the Walls: Architects Design, a survey of seminal architect-designed furniture curated by Mark McDonald. With representations spanning over a century, the exhibition presents a broad range of pivotal architects from the US, Latin America, Europe and Asia — such as Luis Barragán, Lina Bo Bardi, Marcel Breuer, Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson, Oscar Niemeyer, Charlotte Perriand, Warren Platner, Gio Ponti, Ettore Sottsass, Kenzō Tange, and Mies van der Rohe — with a focus on three groundbreaking figures: Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, Rudolph Schindler and Frank Lloyd Wright, whose global reach continues today.
Drawing on archival photographs of interiors and historical ephemera, this exhibition charts revolutionary developments in architecture and design across the 20th century. Testaments to the innovative use of new technologies born out of post-war scarcity, works such as Charles and Ray Eames’s Storage Unit (ESU) 400 (1950) and Charlotte Perriand’s Bibliotheque ‘Maison du Mexique’ (1953) epitomize the ingenious use of materials like the lighter weight Fiberglas, Masonite, bent plywood and tubular steel. This presentation is a unique opportunity to analyze the relationship between architectural aesthetic and design ethos on a smaller, more intimate scale and investigate various approaches to reconciling interior and exterior spaces, the commercial versus the residential and the private versus the public sphere.
Examples of furniture originally designed for specific commissions are juxtaposed with furniture and fittings unrelated to a particular project. At the centrepiece of the exhibition is the cantilevered exterior light fixtures from Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1914 Francis W. Little House in Wayzata, Minnesota. Exemplary of Wright’s ‘organic architecture’ approach to interior/exterior cohesion, a reproduction of Francis W. Little House’s living room and exterior facades is on permanent display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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Simultaneously, Friedman Benda presents No-Thing, an exhibition curated by Juan García Mosqueda, with newly commissioned works from nine emerging architectural practices. No-Thing examines the prevalence of authoritative domestic practices embedded in our collective unconscious that guides behaviour towards our personal possessions. Some of these works are composed of a seemingly ordinary construction that relies on the user’s autonomous self for meaning through postulated use. The title alludes to a state of egalitarian “in-betweenness,” a term defined by R.D. Laing in The Politics of Experience — a reference to their makers’ non-dogmatic approach to object creation.
“It is through objects like the ones in the exhibition that the space necessary for the construction of a new self in society can emerge. Not a utopian, idealized self, but an ambiguous figure, uncertain of its destiny; as uncertain as these aporetic furniture works. Within this framework, where the objects truly emerge through affect, one is urged to take not solely a passive but an active role,” says Juan García Mosqueda.
No-Thing features new works by Andy and Dave (Brooklyn, NY), Ania Jaworska (Chicago, IL), architecten de vylder vinck taillieu (Gent, Belgium), Leong Leong (New York, NY), MILLIØNS (Los Angeles, CA), MOS (New York, NY), Norman Kelley (New York, NY, Chicago, IL), SO – IL (Brooklyn, NY), and Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Concepcion, Chile).
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Image Source: Friedman Benda