A weekly report on the best events, openings and happenings in New York.
Week of May 11, 2009:
International Contemporary Furniture Fair
Design is part of our cultural consciousness where it's both process and product, verb and noun--and a way of solving problems great and small for both the larger environment and one's own comfort space. To discover how design goes beyond the call of style, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair offers a confluence of various streams of the design-savvy community to debate and display examples of good design at its very best.
During four days in May, the ICFF takes over 145,000 net sq ft of the Javits Center to display the latest in contemporary furniture design with more than 23,000 interior designers, architects, retailers, wholesalers, design professionals (of stores, hotel and restaurants), manufacturers, students, and members of the general public attending throughout.
More than 500 exhibitors display contemporary furniture, seating, lighting, carpet and flooring, wall coverings, textiles, accessories, kitchen and bath, outdoor furniture, and materials for residential and commercial interiors. This combination of domestic and international exhibitors provides someone easy access to the best, the hippest and the future of home design products and concepts for the better home living.
The ICFF offers a global nexus of design as the Fair welcomes representatives from places as diverse as the following countries beyond the United States: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, and United Kingdom. In past years there have even been displays of design from newly emerging states such as Lativa.
In addition to indiivual booths from various companies, there are contingents from five nations that make the quest to this celebrated design hub--BEDG (British European Design Group), Brazilian Trade Bureau (Brazil), Federlegno-Arredo (Italy), ICEX (Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade), and Royal Danish Consulate General (Denmark)--which offer a intergral overview of design from these regions.
Though a largest part of the show is for the trade, there is a day devoted to the public--Tuesday, May 19, from 10:00 am-4:00 pm--where for $50 pp one can experience where the professionals are at and where they are going. Part of the four day-long celebration is also a series of off-site open-houses that happens throughout Manhattan at various design stores and companies--the list of events can be found at the Javits.
The International Contemporary Furniture Fair runs May 16-19, 2009.
For more info, visit ICFF
- Brad Balfour
Week of May 4, 2009:
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen
The octogenarian pop artist Claes Oldenburg became famous when he created his iconic huge soft sculptures of ordinary things like a tube of toothpaste. One of the most innovative artists of the postwar period, the Swedish-born Oldenburg is best known for these sculptures and drawings that defy expectations about what we expect from ordinary objects.
In 1976, he began an extraordinary creative partnership with his late wife, the Dutch-born art historian and curator Coosje van Bruggen (1942-2009) that continued for more than 30 years. During that time, the Whitney championed their work for several decades and now possesses one of the world’s largest collections.
Curators Carter Foster, Chrissie Iles, and Dana Miller drew primarily from the museum’s extensive holdings of drawings, sculpture, film, and archival material, to create this exhibition which illuminates the themes of metamorphosis and artistic collaboration that are at the heart of this couple's work.
Soft Viola Island
Iconic examples of Oldenburg's early sculpture on view include "Giant BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich)" (1963), "French Fries and Ketchup" (1963), and "Soft Toilet" (1966). A highlight of the exhibition is Oldenburg’s "Ice Bag – Scale C" (1971), which has undergone extensive conservation work in preparation for this exhibition.
These and other early sculptures are complemented by several dozen works on paper by Oldenburg, and in collaboration with van Bruggen. Also, for the first time, rare films of Oldenburg’s Happenings will be shown together in the Whitney’s Film & Video Gallery, projected in loops around the walls. Three of the films-- "Fotodeath" (1961), "Autobodys", and "Hole" (both from 1967)-- have not been seen since they were first screened in the '60s, and have been restored especially for the exhibition.
A room has been dedicated to a series of sculptures by Oldenburg and van Bruggen describing various musical instruments in a presentation entitled The Music Room. As installed at the Whitney, The Music Room includes both hard and soft instruments of differing scales that range in date from 1992 to 2006.
Among the objects included are variations on a viola, saxophone, clarinets, French horns, sheet music, and a metronome. A select group of related drawings will hang nearby. The theme and form of musical instruments proved ideal for exploring physical and material transformations and the resulting shifts in meaning.
The exhibition runs May 7, 2009—August 30, 2009.
For more info call (212) 570-3600, or visit the Whitney Museum of American Art, Madison Ave at 75th Street, New York
- Brad Balfour