Tag Archive | Design

Christopher Chiappa’s Compositions at Kate Werble Gallery

Front Room Installation View
All Photos By Gail

When last we visited Kate Werble Gallery for one of sculptor Christopher Chiappa’s immersive exhibits, the place was covered wall-to-wall, floor-to-celing with Fried Eggs, and that was a good time. For his fourth exhibition at the gallery, Chiappa has installed in its front and back rooms two collections of what, on first glance, appear to be brightly colored, painted wooden tables. On closer examination, however, the at once familiar table shapes of Chiappa’s sculptures transmute and metamorphose into increasingly whimsical and delightful forms as you progress through the galleries. It’s a hoot.

Front Room Partial Install

With this show, Chiappa attempts a reset from past projects by returning to the most fundamental elements of abstraction: geometric shapes, solid colors, and line. His Compositions are made slowly, by hand; and his use of bright color serves to emphasize the assembly. The junctures between individual planes of wood are heightened by the sharp transitions in opposing colors and forms.

Blue Table

This one is my favorite. I think because of the Pink leg.

Red and Yellow Stacking

Mondrian Table

These works operate firmly within the gap of the simile. In color, shape, and temperament, they metabolize a succession of art historical reference points: Suprematism, Constructivism, Bauhaus, and Memphis Group. Like the Suprematists, for example, Chiappa uses the language of non-objective abstraction. However, instead of seeking to transcend the material world, he purposefully goes the wrong way around; he directs these forms back to the familiar.

Rainbow Table

Turquoise Table Set

As the tables become more abstract, you can play a fun game coming up with ideas of what the shapes remind you of.

Fed Ex Table

In this one, the use of Orange and Purple reminds me of the Fed Ex logo!

Bicycle Table

This one reminds me of deconstructed version of a child’s Tricycle.

Twisty Table

The Red Shape at the top of this one looks like a Fish trying to swim away. If you add in that Black Shape to the lower left, it could also be a Chicken.

Tangled Sculpture 2

In this, I see a group of friends of different races playing a game of One Potato Two Potato. See? Lots of fun. And I was by myself, so imagine how much more interesting it could be if you see the show with a friend.

Now lets check out the back room, where things get weirder.

Rear Gallery Installation View 2

Chiappa’s Compositions evolve without foreseen conclusion, evidence that repetition leads not to sameness but to difference. The early works remain closest to the basic form, and they gradually deviate further from the original. Though the parameters and materials remain the same, the final sculptures feel far removed from the first. The result is an autonomous object whose symbolic reference point has broken down altogether.

Target Table

I see a big Target.

Target Legs

Look at all those Legs!

Rocking Sculpture

Sculpture Collection

Blue Spire Sculpture

Blue Table Sculpture

Stacking E Tables

Compositions is a really fun exhibit, espcially for fans of minimalists like Ellsworth Kelly and modern furniture design. And you still hove lots of time to check it out!

Christopher Chiappa’s Compositions Will be on Exhibit Through June 2nd, 2018 at Kate Werble Gallery, Located at 83 Vandam Street, Soho, NYC.

Rear Gallery Installation View
Rear Gallery Installation View

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Eye On Design: Menorah #7 By Peter Shire

Menorah #7 By Peter Shire
All Photos By Gail

In the 1980s, Judaica artists began to reexamine the form of the Hanukkah lamp, which according to rabbinical prescription should have eight lights in a straight row and on the same level, with a ninth set off from them.  Peter Shire (b. 1947) typically takes familiar objects and reimagines their shapes, colors and materials so that we barely recognize them.

Menorah #7 By Peter Shire

In his Menorah #7  (1986), a mixture of pastel and hot colors, industrial metals and a cantilevered, swirling arrangement of parts  challenge the modernist aesthetic of simplicity that had dominated design for a century. This post-modernism was a key design principe of the Memphis Design Group to which Shire belonged.

Menorah #7 By Peter Shire

Photographed in The Jewish Museum in Manhattan.

Pink Thing of The Day: Pink Melitta Heritage Series Coffeemaker

Pink Melitta Pour Over Coffee Maker
All Photos By Gail

Oh, how I love a modern product whose design riffs on a retro look! I spotted this adorable (and practical!) Melitta Heritage Series Pour-Over Coffeemaker at the recent IHA Show, and was instantly smitten: not only with its millennial Pink color, but also by the vintage glazed porcelain design! Wow!

Pink Melitta Pour Over Coffee Maker

It makes perfect sense that this design is from the brand’s new Heritage Collection. While Melitta is a well-known brand that many of us have grown up with, I didn’t know anything about the company’s engaging backstory! In 1908, German housewife Melitta Bentz invented the world’s first pour-over coffeemaker when she poked holes in the bottom of a brass cup and lined it with a sheet of her son’s blotting paper (the first coffee filter)! The pour-over method that we take for granted, which results in rich, flavorful handcrafted coffee, came to be because a smart lady came up with an on-the-fly solution to effortlessly make coffee more delicious!

Pink Melitta Pour Over Coffee Maker

Melitta’s Heritage Series Pour-Over Coffeemaker Set includes a porcelain Pour-Over cone and matching 20 once carafe. The design debuted at IHA and is available in stores now.

Pink Thing of the Day: David Bowie Quote on Book Spines

David Bowie Quote on Book Spines
Photo By Gail

This quote by the late great David Bowie — “Tomorrow Belongs to Those Who Can Hear it Coming” — gets a vibrant new life when printed on the spines of horizontally stacked book that have been wrapped in pink paper or vinyl. According to this source, “Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming” was the slogan David Bowie coined to promote Heroes, the second installment of his great Berlin album trilogy. It neatly captures one of his most important talents: to intuit the future and draw it forward into the popular culture of the present. Sometimes he would simply grasp the importance of a trend, as when he understood that the arrival of the internet would transform the economics of the music industry and the relationship between artists and audiences. But more often it was his artistry in self-reinvention that opened up new modes of cultural expression or brought shooting up to the surface deeper social trends. When he famously threw his arms round Mick Ronson’s shoulders on Top of the Pops, he was doing more than advertising his bisexuality. He was helping catalyze the liberation in the politics of sexual identity that would unfold in the 1970s.

Photographed at the New York Now Home Show at Javits Center in February of 2018.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Donald Judd, Untitled (1970) Stack Sculpture

Donald Judd Untitled Stack 1970
All Photos By Gail

Donald Judd (1928 – 1994) created his first vertical Stack Sculpture in 1965. Coincidentally, this was just one year before furniture designer Ettore Sottsass designed his Superebox cabinet series. At the time, Sottsass claimed to have been inspired from the radical materials and construction of Parisian fashion, but he late wrote about Judd and even named a table in homage to him.

Donald Judd Untitled Stack 1970 Detail
Untitled Stack Sculpture (1970) Detail

Sottsass and Judd each explored Minimalism and the effect of objects on their environment, but from strikingly different vantage points

Donald Judd Untitled Stack 1970 Detail

Judd’s sculptures use the language and materials of serial production and functionalist design, while Sottsass created functional objects with the aspiration of minimalist sculpture.

Donald Judd Untitled Stack 1970

Photographed in The Met Breuer Museum in NYC.

Eye On Design: Gio_Graphy Disco Window Display at Bergdorf Goodman

Disco Ball Head Mannequins
“My Favorite Color is Rainbow” (All Photos By Gail)

It must have been some kind of cosmic coincidence that, while walking to the train after attending a late night Birthday party for Randy Jones, best known as The Cowboy from ’70s Disco legends The Village People, I passed right by the iconic NYC department store, Bergdorf Goodman, and got a face full of this mind-blowing, disco ball extravaganza window display.

My Favorite Color is Rainbow

My Favorite Color is Rainbow is just one in series of over-the-top window display tableaus created by W Magazine in honor of Italian fashion editor and stylist Giovanna Battaglia‘s new book Gio_Graphy: Fun in the Wild World of Fashion. The hardcover book is described as, “A witty guide to living the glam the life from an international style star, featuring hilarious anecdotes, fashion advice, and much more. Dubbed a “cyber icon” and “fashion heroine” by the New York Times, Battaglia is known for her colorful street style and fun-loving personality. Her monthly column in W chronicles fashion, art, and adventure. In this, her first book, she has written an irreverent how-to guide for dressing for every occasion, finding fashion inspiration, living stylishly, and having fun while doing it. Heck Yeah!

Disco Ball Headed Mannequin Window Shot

Covering style and beauty for daytime, nighttime, travel, and work, this book is brimming with chic and inspirational wisdom, from how to pull off bold fashion moves like barely-there tops, enormous hats, and powerful reds; advice for how to survive fashion emergencies (like what happens when you show up to an event in the same dress as someone else); and her secrets for donning multiple outfits in a day (bodysuits are key). Also featured are tips and tricks she has learned from fashion-world friends. Filled with humor and style, this is a must-have book for anyone interested in fashion and having a good time.

If you can’t make it to Bergdorf Goodman (located at 754 5th Avenue (at 58th Street), New York, NY 10019 you can buy the book (which has a publication date of October 24, 2017) at This Link!

Disco Ball Headed Mannequin

Eye On Design: Paco Rabanne Disc Dress Circa 1966

Paco Rabanne Dress 1966
All Photos By Gail

Paco Rabanne presented his first fashion collection in 1966. It was entitled 12 Dresses in Unwearable Materials and included garments made from links of plastic fastened with metal hoops. Rabanne had proven that fabric, needle and thread were not altogether necessary to clothing design, and he quickly gained fame for his defiance of tradition.

Paco Rabanne Dress 1966 Installation View

Ready-to-wear Dress Circa 1966: Silver and Black Plastic Discs, Metal Hoops. Photographed in the Museum at FIT in Manhattan.