Friday, July 1, 2016

A MAD World

The spectacular view across Columbus Circle from Robert, the restaurant atop the Museum of Arts and Design. Photo: JH.
Friday, July 1, 2016.  Sunny warm day, yesterday in New York.  The weather we’ve been having – mid-80s in the day with little humidity and mid-60s at night; ideal. I don’t have my AC on – or rather, I don’t own an AC. My terrace door is open and it’s very comfortable (with two small Vornado fans to press the wind). The town really empties out for this holiday weekend. The city is lovely on such occasions. You walk, or ride, around and get to see the wonder of all wherever you go.

If you are in the City and you’re a person who likes to take advantage of its advantages, I always suggest to visitors and especially those with families, that they go to the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) on Columbus Circle. We’ve been covering the project of the museum growing, a-building since the early '90s into the burgeoning institution that it is today. I am not a connoisseur, nor knowledgable. If I go to a gallery opening or an important exhibit, I especially like to go in the company of my friend Charlie Scheips who occasionally writes Art Set for us because he’s an art historian, a curator and he can translate what my eyes are seeing so that I see it. At MAD, you are the curator; you see it and get your own message, of which there are many, as well as one.
Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) on Columbus Circle.
A couple of weeks ago I went with JH and his Digital to their exhibition Studio Job MAD HOUSE. It’s been pointed out ot me several times as particularly interesting. And new, to these eyes.

How do I describe it to you? That’s what I was thinking when we were given a tour by Ronald Labaco, who curated it for MAD. This is the first solo museum exhibition in this country to present an exhibition of the creative vision of two design collaborators Job Smeets (Belgian, b. 1970) and Nynke Tynagel (Dutch, b. 1977), who established their atelier Studio Job in Belgium in 1998.
In this exhibition, Studio Job transformed two of the Museum floors into an experience which includes sculpture, lighting, furniture, floor coverings, wallpaper, drawings, and other objects that reference the history of arts patronage, of collecting, and of display.  The works works are  presented as if in a collector's home. They’re organized to suggest imagined narratives that fuse elements of history, fantasy, irony, and autobiography.

There are 57 pieces. All will make you look the way you can't avoid looking at something so personally curious. Four pieces make their international debut in this exhibition: Pan wall mirror (2015); Pipe table (2015); Sex Cake table lamp (2016); and Sinking Ship table (2016), along with four sketches and full-scale color drawings—works of art in themselves—that document the artistic process. Four private commissions are shown publically for the first time: Pitchfork and Shovel (2014) in cast bronze; Heart (2012–13) in stained glass; Dr. Crützen Illuminator (2011–12) in stained glass; and Unity cabinet (2011) in marquetry.
Ron Labaco, Marcia Docter Senior Curator at MAD.
Ron Labaco told us that Studio Job is one of the most distinctive contemporary design studios in the world today. The exhibition’s concept set their work in loose, sometimes contradictory groupings around ideas such as 'love/lust,' 'agrarian/pre-industrial,' and 'church/religion.'

It’s fascinating and curious to view. All ages will find it so, but for different reasons. This is evidently the way the artists wanted it: to get you to bring your own interpretation to what you’re seeing, and what it’s telling us.
Installation view of ‘Studio Job MAD HOUSE,’ 2016

In the foreground: Oxidized Castle, 2003
Groninger Museum
Since 2000, Smeets and Tynagel have developed a distinctive body of highly expressive and opulent work that incorporates pattern, ornament, irony, monumentality, and provocation, as well as personal, historic, and sociocultural narrative. There is also the commitment to craftsmanship. This reflects an ongoing revival of traditional applied-arts practices -- bronze casting, gilding, marquetry, stained glass, and faience -- but with a contemporary (read post-Modern) perspective. They operate in the manner of a traditional Old Master studio, engaging the skills of the most talented artisans in the production of their work.

Go, see for yourself ...
Sinking Ship, 2016
Courtesy of Chamber
Sinking Ship, 2015-2016
Courtesy of Studio Job Gallery
Globe, 2002
Groninger Museum
Oxidized Clock, 2003
Groninger Museum
Rock series, 2004
Rock series, 2004
Perished Bench, 2006
Collection of Mike de Paola
Detail of Perished Bench, 2006
Pyramid, 2008
Private Collection
Detail of Pyramid, 2008
Sex Cake, 2015-2016
Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Heart, 2012-2013
Private Collection
Banana, 2015
Courtesy of Samuel Vanhoegaerden Gallery
Burj Khalifa, 2013-2014
Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Detail of Burj Khalifa, 2013-2014
Detail of Burj Khalifa, 2013-2014
Monkey Business, 2013
Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
From Containers I series, 2000
Mug Tree, 2007
Courtesy of Chamber
Big Ben, 2009-2014
Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Tour Eiffel, 2012
Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Time Bomb, 2013
Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Chimney, 2014
Courtesy of Chamber

Taj Mahal II,
2014
Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Axe and Sword, 2003
Private Collection
Castle from Oxidized series, 2003
Groninger Museum
Lamp from Robber Baron Series, 2006-2007
Detail from Lamp from Robber Baron Series, 2006-2007
Craft series, 2001
Fountain, 2011
Collection of Prowinko
Bavaria Screen, 2008
Collection of Michael Maharam
Robber Baron Safe, 2007
Groninger Museum
Side view of Robber Baron Safe, 2007
Stewpan (Frigate U.S.S. United States), 2010
Private Collection
Horse Bust (Chess Piece), 2014
Courtesy of Chamber
The eyes light up red when the vacuum is turned on.
Robber Baron Cabinet, 2007
Groninger Museum
Robber Baron Cabinet, 2007
Groninger Museum
Detail of Robber Baron Cabinet, 2007
Wrecking Ball, 2010
Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Piece for Peace, 2010
Private Collection
Chartres, 2009-2012
Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Chartres, 2009-2012
Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Chartres, 2009-2012
Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Chartres, 2009-2012
Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Chartres, 2009-2012
Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Train Crash, 2015
Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Unity, 2011
Private Collection
 

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