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Michael W. Dreeben, Billet Chaise (detail), 2007

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Emerging Designers
May 16-29, 2007

With playful humor, bold patterns, and cutting-edge technology, young designers are restyling furniture design this week at New York's International Contemporary Furniture Fair. We survey several promising talents, including wallpaper renegades Flavor Paper and irreverent jesters Cactus Design, and profile British design studio FredriksonStallard, whose macabre rugs and coffee tables are attracting global attention. In our interview with Dutch design star Tord Boontje, we probe his fusion of the ornamental and the natural, and for our media pick, we recommend &Fork;, a new volume looking at the vanguard of design. Touching on noteworthy exhibitions, we discuss new work from Dash Snow in Berlin, Francesco Clemente in Salzburg, and Pawel Althamer in Milan.



  Do yourself a favor — stop hiding your inner super self and get inspired with the next issue of ReadyMade, the sassy, do-it-yourself magazine for people who like to make stuff. Find out how to make a head-banging headboard, refurbish your kitchen counter, find a f*&%ing awesome job and get credit for your own ingenious MacGyver inventions. And so much more.





Thousands Strip Down for Tunick Photo
(New Zealand Herald, May 8)
Photographer Spencer Tunick broke his own record when 18,000 people bared all for a picture in Mexico City's Zócalo Square. Tunick had previously succeeded in recruiting 7,000 naked volunteers for a 2003 shoot in Barcelona, Spain. In Mexico City, participants raised their arms, laid on their backs, and formed the shape of an arrow for Tunick. Once the center of Aztec culture, the square now borders the National Palace, the Diego Rivera-adorned seat of the Mexican government. Observers say that the massive turnout for Tunick's conflation of art and public nudity points to the predominantly Catholic nation's increasing embrace of liberal values, also evinced by recently passed abortion and same-sex union legislation. In a related story, Tunick also selected 105 women from his crowd to pose as Frida Kahlo doppelgangers.

Wallinger's Protest on Turner Shortlist
(Guardian, May 8)
The shortlist for the Turner Prize, one of Britain's most prestigious art prizes, was recently announced. Zarina Bhimji, Nathan Coley, Mike Nelson, and Mark Wallinger will be considered for the £25,000 award. Wallinger has garnered attention for his State Britain show, for which he recreated a series of anti-Iraq war protest slogans in the confines of the Tate Britain. Nelson built a photo darkroom at the Frieze Art Fair, Bhimji is a filmmaker and photographer who has lately centered her work on her homeland of Uganda, and Coley was recognized for his Camouflage Church and Camouflage Mosque constructions in Spain. The finalists' work will be on display at Tate Liverpool from October 19 until January 13, 2008, with the winner being declared on December 3 of this year.

National Design Museum Looks to Expand
(New York Times, April 28)
With the Smithsonian museums feeling the tightening of government purse strings, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum recently announced that it has raised $21.5 million in private money to restore and expand its Fifth Avenue mansion. The funds were culled from the museum's board members and represent half of a proposed $43 million expansion. An independent report recently criticized the Cooper-Hewitt for a lack of ambitious programming, a shortage of space, and a poor acquisitions policy. On the heels of the report and the museum's Design Triennial, officials acknowledged that there was "work to do" but pointed out that the museum was in better financial shape than many of its Smithsonian brethren. The planned expansion will result in an 80% increase in exhibition space, and Cooper representatives promised a more dynamic use of the museum's holdings and resources.

Kara Walker Makes Time 100
(Time, May)
Film and installation artist Kara Walker made the venerable Time magazine's list of the world's most influential people — putting her one up on the president of the United States, among others. Barbara Kruger penned the magazine's brief paean to the African-American artist, praising her ability to recast history as a plurality of viewpoints: "She raucously engages both the broad sweep of the big picture and the eloquence of the telling detail. She plays with stereotypes, turning them upside down, spread-eagle, and inside out. She revels in cruelty and laughter. Platitudes sicken her. She is brave. Her silhouettes throw themselves against the wall and don't blink." A traveling survey show of Walker's work opens at ARC/Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris on June 20.





MoMA taps Rajendra Roy to head film department more »

Historic Paris looks to future-savvy design more »

Banksy's press barrage continues more »

A Sharjah Biennial slideshow more »

Seattle Art Museum receives $1 billion of donated art more »

London students unveil their art in Second Life more »

Ryan McGinley nabs ICP's Young Photographer of the Year Award more »

Race for the world's tallest tower more »

Chris Burden's art no longer a danger to himself more »

Street stencilers tired of waiting to get paid more »

Charles Ray remakes a fallen tree more »

Wong and Krum open the Wrong Store more »

Does Tracey Emin really represent Britain? more »

Architect wants to make Tiananmen Square a forest more »

Gay art grabs the spotlight more »

After years of planning, BAM's art library is a no-go more »

NYC's High Line a park, a neighborhood, a brand more »

Don Suggs' survey unveils a "one-man group show" more »

Top architects vie for Philadelphia museum project more »

Note: Some online publications require registration to access the articles. If you encounter a registration screen, try akreader1 as the username and password.



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[ ICFF ]


     

Flavor Paper / Loyal Loot Collective / Cactus Design / molo

Forget the sleek designs from high-profile retailers like Vitra, Kartell, and Herman Miller — the real stars of this year's International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) are the emerging designers. With carefree playfulness, futuristic materials, and interdisciplinary experimentation, a new generation is transforming the field of furniture design.

Among more than 600 exhibitors, a growing number of small design studios and first-time participants are bringing young blood to the fair booths. Carly Margolis and Ophir Tanz of Cavern reinvent wallpaper with their delicate designs of flying birds and tree branches, while New Orleans' Flavor Paper shows a hand-screened, baroque wallpaper with an irreverent fire-hydrant motif. The quirky Japanese studio Cactus Design debuts with both minimalist and patterned home accessories, and Loyal Loot Collective from Canada shows exuberantly kitschy designs. London's Tom Dixon brings his sensuously elegant objects, including shiny copper lamps, and GREY design studio from Seattle exhibits for the first time with sleek furniture and deconstructed lighting. Infusing home furnishings with striking patterns, surprising pop references, and new geometries, these small studios are redefining contemporary design aesthetics.

Seeking the next innovators to transform the field, ICFF hosts several projects that spot promising young talent. Studio Bernhardt Design enables emerging designers from Helsinki to Los Angeles to realize their prototype designs by connecting them with manufacturers. Alfred Zollinger's students from Parsons the New School for Design are creating the ICFF Bar out of only industrial-grade straps, and the ICFF Design Schools exhibition spotlights winning projects from six design institutions, including the California College of the Arts and the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano. In the glittering installation Crystal Connection, Swarovski highlights crystal designs from 16 Rhode Island School of Design students, and in Signed in Light, the crystal retailer shows off commissions from renegades including Tord Boontje and Georg Baldele. For those wishing to take home a piece of the action, the Designboom Mart returns this year with a cornucopia of products from emerging designers for between $10 and $100.

Beyond the fair, many of New York's design galleries are showing off their favored designers this week, hoping to lure the ICFF crowds. The trendsetting Moss in SoHo is showcasing Homework, the latest series from Studio Job, as well as a lightweight copper chair from Tom Dixon. At the fair and on the streets, the designs on view this week in New York will surely be scrutinized, lauded, and imitated in the months to come. (BR)

ICFF takes place in New York's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from May 19 to 22. For additional events, check out Core77's essential guide to New York Design Week 2007.



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Ola Pehrson
Los Angeles

Hammer Museum
Now through May 27

  Swedish artist Ola Pehrson's DIY masterpiece Hunt for the Unabomber is a frame-by-frame, black-and-white video remake of a documentary about the titular American terrorist's crimes and capture. Pehrson's video uncannily embodies the Unabomber's manifesto against technology, subverting journalistic gravitas through roughly drawn newspaper clippings and floating speech bubbles containing quotes such as "people with advanced degrees aren't as smart as they think they are." Colorful maquettes of crime scenes, police interviews, and court facades crafted from polystyrene, cardboard, clay, wire, and found junk that the artist used in his production are also displayed in neat arrangements. However, Pehrson distinguishes himself from his subject by making art that is ultimately about creation, not destruction. (SND)





Christian Schumann: Tottering Tongues of Argot
Madrid

Pilar Parra & Romero
Now through June 2

  Christian Schumann's exhibition of new paintings and gouaches at Madrid's Pilar Parra & Romero highlights the artist's ability to combine different visual idioms. One of four pastel-hued paintings, Farm & fleet is divvied up into a loose, hodgepodge grid of simple patterns, folksy portraits, and snippets of text. Four other paintings, including the chaotic Debris Curtain, are frenetic compositions of wiggly forms and nightmarish cartoon figures rendered in zany Nickelodeon colors. Schumann fills his five gouaches corner-to-corner with russet red and cerulean blue blobs, some resembling humans and others sea anemones; in Security land, pointy waves abut a congested, chaotic landscape of amorphous tubes and helmeted police officers. (HGM)





Pawel Althamer: One of Many
Milan

Fondazione Nicola Trussardi
Now through June 5

  For his new project at the neoclassical Palazzina Appiani in Milan's majestic Sports Arena, Pawel Althamer proposes a poetic microcosm of everyday heroes through the multiplication of his own image. Althamer imagines himself as a fragile metal sculpture of a young boy, a life-sized nude figure created with organic material, and an artist in a studio — ironically represented as a small suitcase. Outside, an enormous helium-balloon likeness, also naked, floats in the sky above the city. Known for experimenting with hallucinatory states and extreme experiences, Althamer uses One of Many to address the broader human condition and invite viewers to be part of a collective experience. (CA)





Dash Snow: The End of Living... The Beginning of Survival
Berlin

Contemporary Fine Arts
Now through June 23

  The End of Living... The Beginning of Survival is a fitting title for mythical New Yorker Dash Snow's first solo show in Germany, at Berlin's Contemporary Fine Arts. There, newspaper collages referencing the historical avant-garde pack the walls of the deep gallery space. Whereas the Dadaists explored chance and commerce and the surrealists dove into the subconscious, Snow juxtaposes pop icons like Mickey Mouse with military images and sexually charged headlines — all in frightening harmony. But beyond the barrage of nostalgia and discontent, one sweet idea lies in wait: a book fort — four short walls of books topped with a bed sheet — offers refuge from the overdose of images and text. (CR)





Francesco Clemente: Portraits
Salzburg

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Now through May 19

  Whether exploring exotic expressions of sexuality or creating original works for Alfonso Cuarón's film adaptation of Great Expectations, painter Francesco Clemente always exposes his subjects' elemental characteristics. A star of the '80s art boom, Clemente has turned to his glamorous social set for inspiration in his latest series of figurative portraits. Each figure takes up the entire canvas, with outsized personalities such as designer Zac Posen and essayist Fran Lebowitz crammed into the frame as though they were pressed against a window. Clemente's trademark bulbous heads, with their earthen hues and sharp lines, give the sitters' faces a mask-like appearance, but glassy, sparkling eyes give each canvas startling life. (JC)

Clemente's work is also on view at Jablonka Galerie in Berlin through May 19 and at two New York galleries, Deitch Projects through June 2 and Mary Boone Gallery through June 30.



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[ FredriksonStallard ]



FredriksonStallard

Giving luxury furniture a macabre twist, FredriksonStallard combines sensuality with dark humor. The Swedish/British design studio formally began in 2005 when Central Saint Martins classmates and longtime collaborators Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard opened their 3,000-square-foot studio and gallery in east London.

Designing ostensibly ordinary objects — vases, rugs, and tables — FredriksonStallard imbues its creations with sinister playfulness. One of the pair's most famous pieces, a glossy red rug entitled The Lovers consists of connected pools of urethane equivalent to the quantity of blood in two humans. Candle #1 is an elaborate candlestick (modeled on one owned by Fredrikson's great-grandmother) made entirely of wax, so it melts as the candle burns, while Ming is a classically shaped white vase dipped in black PVC, giving it a fetishistic edge. Other items include the tactile, undulating Pyrénées foam sofa and a skin-colored rubber table inspired by prop doubles in a Johnny Depp film.

Designs by FredriksonStallard were acquired by the French National Art Collection in 2005, which set off a rush of awards and commissions. The duo was nominated for the Wallpaper* 2006 Furniture Designer of the Year and is currently launching designs for Swarovski, David Gill Galleries in London, and Contrasts Gallery in Beijing. Recently appearing in the Design Museum's Tank Gallery, the Bergère chair from the David Gill Galleries collection is a perfect example of a FredriksonStallard design: a classic wingback chair is recast in stainless steel with shocking pink rubber, like a "desperate lap-dancer clinging to her polished stick." Frequently dark but always cheeky, FredriksonStallard's work challenges our preconceptions of everyday domestic items, transforming the humdrum into the extraordinary. (LCD)

FredriksonStallard's new furniture collection can be seen at London's David Gill Galleries through June 2.



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[ Tord Boontje ]


     

Tord Boontje Studio

Complementing artisanal techniques with advanced technologies, Tord Boontje is one of the most innovative industrial designers working today. His exquisite products, ranging from glassware and furniture to lighting and textiles, can be found in museums, galleries, shops, and showrooms around the world. Artkrush editor Paul Laster recently caught up with the Dutch artist and craftsman at his studio in Bourg-Argental, France.
AK: As a young designer studying at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in the early '90s, during the rise of the YBA artists and the London scene, were you more influenced by what you saw in the galleries or by what you saw in the streets?

TB: I was more influenced by what was happening in the streets, but I was also affected by the get-up-and-go attitude of the YBAs. A friend, Sarah Staton, had a mobile guerilla shop called SupaStore that showed artists' multiples. She had seen some things that I had made for my RCA degree show and asked me to contribute. SupaStore convinced me that you don't need much to get started — your space can be anywhere as long as you have an interesting idea and a good mailing list. That attitude influenced me the most.

AK: I like the simplicity of your Rough-and-Ready furniture and lighting line from the late '90s. What was the concept for that collection?

TB: The Rough-and-Ready series arose from a personal feeling. I had just left college and was out on my own. I had no money, but I had a fantastic workshop in the back streets of London. The design magazines I opened and the showrooms I visited all had very slickly produced, glossy plastic Italian furniture. I just couldn't relate to it — even if I could have afforded it, I didn't want to mess with it. I started to make furniture that visualized how I wanted to live. My objects could be eloquent and beautiful, but in no way were they precious.

AK: Why did you make the Rough-and-Ready furniture an open-source collection rather than products manufactured for retail?

keep reading the interview »


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  &Fork;
Tom Dixon, Maria Helena Estrada, Pierre Keller, et al
Phaidon Press

Five years after the release of Spoon, a comprehensive look at the contemporary product designs of 100 young designers, the editors of Phaidon Press are back with &Fork;, completing their metaphoric table setting — at least for the moment. As before, ten international curators, including self-taught maverick Tom Dixon and Casa Brutus editor-in-chief Chieko Yoshiie, select emerging designers and highlight a favorite historical design object, such as Al Fritz's 1963 Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycle. While everything in this tabletop tome is a visual delight, a few standouts include Maarten Baas' charred version of Gerrit Rietveld's Zig-Zag Chair, Yves Béhar's seamless rubber slip-on clogs for Birkenstock, Tatsuya Matsui's gesture-mimicking robot, and Dominic Wilcox's War Bowl made from melted plastic toy soldiers. &Fork; serves as an inspirational guide to rethinking the possibilities of industrial objects. (PL)

Tom Dixon's new CU29 chair is on view at Moss in New York from May 20 through June 3. Dixon converses with design editor Julie Taraska at HauteGREEN 2007 in New York on May 19 at 3pm.



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Cover Art
Michael W. Dreeben
Billet Chaise, 2007
CNC milled aluminum and fiberglass/polyester resin
31 x 64 x 31 in./ 78.7 x 161.6 x 78.7 cm
Photo: Brian Franczyk
Courtesy Michael W. Dreeben, Chicago
All Rights Reserved

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