Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jill Krementz Photo Journal - Ron Arad: No Discipline

Ron Arad was born in Tel Aviv in 1951. In 1973 he moved to London where he studied at the Architectural Association. In 1981, with Carol Thorman, he founded the gallery-studio, One Off.
Ron Arad: No Discipline
August 2nd-October 19th, 2009
The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art is presently showcasing the first major U.S. retrospective of Ron Arad’s work.

The exhibition features approximately 140 works, including design objects and architectural models, and 60 videos. Most of the objects are displayed in a monumental Corten-and-stainless steel structure designed by the artist.

Arad’s relentless experimentation with materials of all kinds combined with his radical interpretation of some of the most established archetypes in furniture — from armchairs and rocking chairs to desk lamps and chandeliers — have put him at the forefront of contemporary design.

As Jonathan Safran Foer so aptly writes in his essay for the catalogue accompanying the show:

It shouldn’t matter that Arad can’t be defined, but it matters that it shouldn’t matter, because we live in a world in which it’s embarrassing and worse not to have a quick answer to the question, ‘What do you do?’… museums have design departments, and sculpture and architecture departments. Arad was not made for this world.

Great artists are never made for the world in which they live.
Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design at Moma with Glenn Lowry, Director of the museum. Ms. Antonelli curated this exhibition. Glenn Lowry introduces Ron Arad.
"I look forward to being judged as a good architect, good artist, and good designer. When you go into the studio, there are no borders between these functions--you don't need a passport to go from one to the other. I'm sorry if it makes life harder for people who like to put things in compartments."
At the beginning of the 1980s, design's need to break with the disciplinary boundaries of modernism had grown out of it's most heated and rebellious phase and reached a new maturity. Gone were the efforts to debunk the power of corporations and technocrats by refusing to design anything that could actually be designed and sold; and gone were the activists and thinkers who sided with the people and preached that everyone was a designer. It was time to reclaim the creative role of designers as givers of soul in addition to form, uniquely positioned as they were to break with the past and model the world's future. — Paola Antonelli: Opening paragraph of her essay for show's catalogue.
Art critic, Larry Qualls. Ron Arad, discusses his work with Glenn Lowry and Carmela Ciuraru, an art critic who is profiling the artist for Interview Magazine.
Writer, Christopher Mason, standing in front of one of the New Orleans chairs, an edition of eighteen colorful armchairs.
Ron Arad with Tim Burton. Tim Burton will have a major exhibition of his artworks from his movies -- as well as a complete retrospective of his films -- at MOMA, which will open on November 22nd and run through April 2010.
Moby's Trip. This is one of the desks first introduced at the 2002 Milan Furniture Fair. The piece is made out of cured carbon fiber with an internal core of Nomex honeycomb, and it is surprisingly light.
Swan Chair. Chair By Its Cover.
Cages sans Frontières, Arad's large structure that cradles the other works.
Left: Lolita. Made with 2,100 crystals and 1,050 white LED's, Lolita takes the shape of a flat ribbon wound into a corkscrew shape. The ribbon contains 31 processors that enable the display of SMS text messages sent to Lolita's mobile phone number; these messages appear at the top of the chandelier and wind down the ribbon's curves slowly enough to give bystanders time to read, creating the impression that the chandelier is spinning ever so slightly. As a journalist once pointed out to Arad, Nabokov's novel begins, "Lolita, light of my life..."

Right: Ge-Off Sphere, 2000. Laser-sintered polyamide.
There Is No Solution. "There is no solution, because there is no problem." Marcel DuChamp's words are inscribed in English on the twisted steel spiraling through the transparent Oh-Void. Arad declared that he sometimes feels that he is solving problems that do not exist, adding objects to a world already full of design.
A selection of chairs designed by Ron Arad. Do yourself a favor and pick up one of the free illustrated guides. Melanie Monios, Assistant Director of Department of Visitor Services with Margaret M. Doyle, Associate Director, Department of Communications.
After Spring.
Bouncing Vases. Laser-sintered polyamide.
If you look carefully, you will see a pair of red shoes.
Notify Showroom, Milan. An ongoing project.
Catalogue for show which contains essays by curators Paola Antonelli and Ingeborg de Roode, and by novelist Jonathan Safran Foer. There is also an interview with Arad by Marie-Laure Joussat.
Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved.