I’m not sure who is trying to make the Fanny Pack come back into style, but I admit that I was at least a wee bit tempted to snatch up this iridescent Pink version of the reviled fashion accessory when I saw it hanging from a display at the local Lot Less closeout store on 14th Street. Only $4.99 – what a bargain!
The celebrated French artist César (born Cesare Baldaccini) was a founding member in 1960 of the Nouveaux Réalistes group. His amorphous bronze and glass Expansion Table (1977) is one of the rare works in which César applied his Expansion technique to a functional object. Whereas he also created a handful of bronze ashtrays, lamps, as well as the console commissioned by Henri Samuel, the Expansion Table is the object in which César philosophy — his belief that life and art are one entity, indivisible —achieves its apex.
Some background on César’s Expansions: One of the artist’s great breakthroughs in the late 1960s took the form of sculptural spills called Expansions. Realized with liquid polyurethane foam, a novel material at the time, each spill involved actively pouring specifically tinted foam, allowing it to expand, and then leaving it to set in a process that resulted in soft forms several times larger than their original liquid volume.
César was moved by this material’s freedom and energy — rather than conforming to the matrix of a mold, it actually spread and expanded in what would famously become a critically admired analog for the new spirit of liberation that marked the era. As Pierre Restany noted in 1970, “César’s expansions reveal a new phase in his work, the phase of maturity: the mastering of the technique allied to the freedom of form.”
Photographed at at Demisch Danant, Located at 30 West 12th Street in NYC.
Suitable for either indoor or outdoor use, Jonathan Trayte’s MelonMelonTangerine loveseat (2019) brings together different colors, textures and forms supported by a tubular frame of powder-coated steel in a warm, sunshine yellow.
The seat incorporates a variety of natural and man-made fabrics including a nylon-weave lower ‘shelf,’ black leather seats, cowhide upholstered seatbacks, and leather headrests, with furry wool armrest covering and polished brass accents. A mounted disc of polished marble provides a small table for holding your afternoon cocktails, or whatever you please.
Photographed at Friedman Benda Gallery in NYC as Part of the Exhibit, MelonMelonTangerine.
19th century Bengali craftspeople found an export market in Britain for decorative chess sets carved from ivory.
The two sides were sometimes carved to represent opposing armies of local soldiers and Europeans. The example seen here, with relatively simple carving is unusual as signs of wear and repair suggest it was used for playing games rather than as a showpiece for display. Hand-carving has produced variation even between pawns of the same side.
Photographed in the British Galleries at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
The creativity of artist/designer Ron Arad combined with the technological expertise of design company Kartell results in a bookcase design of industrial scale that can rightfully be considered the world’s most daring and revolutionary: behold the Popworm Bookshelf (2015), the flexible bookshelf. A careful analysis of extrusion technology has allowed the creation of a curvy bookcase which assumes any desired shape, without compromising toughness and functionality. The shapes that can be formed are limited only by personal creativity. Available in three different lengths, Popworm is marked by a series of bookend supports. The shelf combines flexibility and superior durability, allowing for a load of approximately 22 lbs for each support. It is advisable to wall-mount the shelf in a curved shape to keep the materials in tension and to increase resistance once loaded. Popworm is available in three sizes (with 7, 11, or 17 bookends) and in three colors, Pink (shown), Light Blue, and Yellow. Visit Kartell’s Website for pricing.
It may be difficult to discern in the dim museum lighting, but the front of this bright Pink Dress features the scene of a rocket launch, and was created in 1968 by American graphic artist Harry Gordon at the height of the international space race.
An identical rocket image adorns the dress’ back. This and other screen-printed paper dress designs by Gordon were manufactured by UK-based company Poster Dress, Ltd. Selling for about $3.00 each and fabricated from tissue, wood pulp and rayon mesh, the dress came with the proclamation: ‘Toughness is woven into the non-woven fabric for long, l-o-n-g wear, and should you tire (which is doubtful), just cut open all the seams and hang it on your wall as a mammoth poster.’
Photographed in The Museum at FIT in Manhattan.
A unique take on the concept of ‘Indoor/Outdoor’ furniture is perhaps unintentionally offered in British artist Jonathan Trayte’s recent exhibit of sculptural art furniture, MelonMelonTangerine, at Freidman Benda Gallery. Intended to transport the viewer to an otherworldly botanical garden, pieces like the Black Dakota Lamp (2019) combine industrial materials such as stainless steel, bronze, polymer compound, and reinforced plastics, and brass leaver, with a base covered in crushed glass, and blown-glass light sconces to create an eclectic light-emitting tree.
This and other works in the collection were inspired by Trayte’s recent 2000-mile road trip through the Western United States. With a keen perception and eye for the obscure, the artist finds the surreal in our everyday surroundings and within the fabric of daily life. Realized while in isolation amidst the current pandemic, he recalls hazy visions of sedimentary rock formations, Joshua trees, lichens, silver cholla cacti and prickly pear fruits to inform this new body of work. We are excited to be featuring more whimsical works from MelonMelonTangerine in the coming weeks!