FUNCTIONAL SCULPTURE: Furniture from the Upper Midwest
Glenn Gordon and Laurel Bradley, Co-curators
An exhibition of contemporary studio and prototype furniture by sixteen independent furniture makers, sculptors and industrial designers from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Useful and practical are not words typically used to
describe works of art. But a new exhibit at Carleton College does just that. Functional Sculpture: Furniture from the Upper Midwest features the work of 16 contemporary furniture makers, sculptors and industrial designers who ask the question, "When does furniture become art?"
With works ranging from handcrafted, one-of-a-kind studio
furniture to multiples designed for mass production, Functional Sculpture features chairs, tables, cabinets, music stands, and other types of furniture. While wood is the predominant material used, the exhibition also showcases pieces made with glass, leather, fabrics, plastics, carbon fiber, and metals—often used in bold and ingenious new
ways. Styles run the gamut from the geometric austerities of Modernism to works that invoke the curves of Art Nouveau, the flair of Art Deco, the strangeness of Surrealism, and the playfulness of Italy's postmodern Memphis movement of the 1980s.
Hailing from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, the featured artists describe themselves variously as artists, industrial designers, and craftspeople. Some are woodworkers in the most traditional sense, while others push to invent and experiment with
new forms and processes.
"The intent is not to celebrate virtuosic craftsmanship for its own sake alone," explains Gordon. "More important than the masterful passages of carving and difficult feats of joinery is the design and thought behind such flourishes. Some of these works are indeed wrought beautifully by hand; others are expressly designed to be made by machine. Exquisitely singular or democratically multiple, each work in its own way intelligently engages questions of form, purpose, and material in contemporary design."
What: Functional Sculpture: Furniture from the Upper Midwest
Where: Carleton College art gallery, Northfield, MN
When: Exhibition runs from January 11-March 10, 2008.
On January 11, show co-curator Glenn Gordon will offer an introductory talk for the exhibition at 7:30 pm in Boliou Hall, room 104, followed by an opening reception from 8:30 to 10 pm in the art gallery. Both events are free and open to the public.
In conjunction with the exhibit, Carleton will also host a series of
workshops and presentations by some of the featured artists in January and February, many of which a free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Carleton College art gallery website.
Functional Sculpture: Furniture in the Upper Midwest
Click here to find out more about this exhibition, gallery hours, and related event info in the listing for this show on mnartists.org's self-posting, member-driven arts calendar.
Carleton College Art Gallery
Visit the Carleton Art Gallery website for directions and venue information.
Sculpture Designed to Be Used
Read the essay introducing this exhbition, by show co-curator Glenn Gordon.