New York Dispatch / Autumn 2021
A diverse range of format-defying programmes open the city’s bustling season this fall.
WITH THE RETURN of New York Fashion Week and art fairs like the Armory Show, September saw New York return to its old self. Thursday nights in the gallery districts of Chelsea, Tribeca and the Lower East Side were abuzz with pre-pandemic-level crowds eager to witness the latest gallery shows, debuts and retrospectives.
Echoing the energy of events across the globe, New York’s offering of collectible design ranged from geometric furnishings to expressive ceramics, with rediscovered works by revered masters added to the mix. Different models – whether it be traditional gallery showcases, online charity auctions, or staged apartments – came on the heels of major museum exhibitions and collaborations setting the mood for an active fall. The Design Edit contributor Adrian Madlener shares a few highlights.
‘Arroyo Seco’ by Eric Roinestad at Casa Perfect
16th September through October
Los Angeles-based artist Eric Roinestad took inspiration from his domestic surroundings during the pandemic when creating a prolific collection of large-scale zoomorphic stoneware vessels. Named for the procession of canyons that form between the San Gabriel Mountains and downtown Los Angeles, the ‘Arroyo Seco’ collection incorporates a rich cast of characters: feral cats, snakes, owls and foxes. Discarded wine bottles and blossoming flowers were also pulled as references from his own backyard.
Some of the boldly graphic pieces – harkening to his background as a designer – are employed as chandeliers and standing lamps. In their scale and refined geometry, the vessels and objects take on an almost neotenic quality. Together, the pieces tell the story of a time and place, which translates well in the context of The Future Perfect’s Greenwich Village townhouse Casa Perfect.
‘Simone Bodmer-Turner and Emma Kohlmann’ collaboration for the South Bronx Mutual Aid
15th September – onwards
Rising star of the New York craft scene Simone Bodmer-Turner teamed up with illustrious Massachusetts-based artist Emma Kohlmann to create a series of limited-edition, hand-painted ceramic vessels to be sold with proceeds going to the South Bronx Mutual Aid fund. This charity was set up to support communities that were most impacted by the pandemic and the ensuing economic crises.
Kohlmann set out to decorate Bodmer-Turner’s now-iconic, organically shaped and multi-chamber ‘Permanent Collection’ with her own expressive illustrations. Each piece was adorned with an original composition of figures, mythical objects and whimsical motifs. Reasonably priced, the limited range of 38 works were gone in a matter of days.
‘Les Collection Pop Up’ at 488 Sterling Place
22nd September through October
Teaming up with luxury real estate developer The Brooklyn Home Company, new digital concept gallery Les Collection has taken up shop in 488 Sterling Place. Making ample use of its penthouse’s sun-drenched white walls, Lauren Sands – multifaceted collector and creative in her own right – is showcasing a rich variety of contemporary and vintage objects.
Characterful ceramics by Nashville-based ceramist Keavy Murphree are enhanced with floral arrangements by Sophie Parker, meant to evoke nearby Prospect Park. While Atlanta-based artist Eileen Braun’s encaustic wax vessels carry an almost mushroom-like quality, Dutch artist Margo Van Erkelen’s equally visceral wall pieces take on a figurative quality. Cast in earth tones and off-whites, the contextual curation pulls from both historical and contemporary references to highlight materiality, artistry in development and sustainability.
‘The Belnord Project’ by frenchCALIFORNIA and R & Company
Having helped initiate the real estate gallery pop-up model in the pre-pandemic era, creative agency frenchCALIFORNIA has mounted headline-grabbing showcases in such illustrious locations as New York’s The Steinway Tower and San Francisco’s Fifteen Fifty. The firm has collaborated with a number of established and nomadic galleries to temporarily furnish signature spaces.
Its most recent venture, developed with blue chip mainstay R & Company and it’s co-founder Evan Snyderman, takes up residence in Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA)’s recently completed The Belnord.
Works by the gallery’s impressive roster of historic and contemporary designers – Nancy Lorenz, Pierre Yovanovitch, Haas Brothers, Katie Stout, Greta Grossman and Joaquim Tenreiro – outfit Residence 1005. While the apartment showcase is open to the public with all of the works for sale, the exhibition is also designed to help sell the unit; showing how it might be best arranged.
‘Here’ at Colony
22nd to 24th September
Helmed by polymath curator and entrepreneur Jean Lin, Colony has cemented itself within the New York design scene as an unconventional cooperative gallery and incubator. Working with furniture, textile,and lighting designers like Bec Brittain, Vonnegut / Kraft and Phaedo, the platform displays a range of wares in its Canal Street loft. The ‘Here’ at Colony exhibition marked its reopening.
The showcase brought together three striking collections developed during the past 18 months. Produced using the sustainably-sourced material, Grain Design’s new ‘Cork Collection’ comprises monolithic side tables, stools and pedestals. The combined cylinder and block forms intersect in different architectonic compositions. Printed in ochre and pale pink hues, Flat Vernacular’s new ‘Viscal’ wallcovering collection embodies a similar geometric integrity of cube and curves, achieved in layered gradients. Over the past year, Lin has developed a robust architecture program, collaborating on a wide range of interiors projects. Workshop/ADP’s new collection of sofas, chairs, and chaises lounge stems from this new programme.
Gaetano Pesce ‘No More Silent Objects’ at Salon 94
14th September to 30th October
“Today objects are no longer minimalist and thoughtless, they are works that express the diversity of the world and its different values,” claimed Gaetano Pesce, the radical Italian designer, this August. “Perhaps we are facing a great revolution where even contemporary art will have to deal with the urgent need for the ‘unique’ and the different.”
A new showcase of recently completed pieces, alongside rarely viewed historic pieces, helps solidify this claim. Presented in Salon 94’s restored wood-panelled library, the contrast between the austerity of the classical trajectory and the freely expressive gothic course is palpable.
Resin is a material the everlasting New York-based maverick first championed in the late 1960s and which he has carried through his long narrative-based practice. New pieces like the particularly kitsch and subversive ‘Ballet Table’ from 2020 pair perfectly with older works like the 1997 ‘Resin Skin Chair’. Pesce’s recent exploration of felt as a self-solidifying textile is evident in a new series of chairs and tables.
Lino Tagliapietra ‘Journey’ at Heller Gallery
8th October to 6th November
Heller Gallery is an established platform specialised in craft-led glass and ceramics. The Chelsea staple is set to open a retrospective of maestro vetraio (master glassmaker) Lino Tagliapietra in early October. The exhibition will explore the prolific glassblower’s impact on the Italian design canon. Charaterised by bold colours and exuberant patterns, the artist’s iconic vessels demonstrate the ongoing vitality and transformation of the Muranese traditions.
Throughout his illustrious career, the auto-didact has reinterpreted these age-old techniques and brought them back into the fold of contemporary output. Accompanying the comprehensive survey is a feature film narrated by the British-American actor Alfredo Molina. After 75 years in the hotshop, Tagliapietra hung up his punty rod and blow pipes last year. The exhibition couldn’t be more timely.