A MAD World
|Friday, July 1, 2016. Sunny warm day, yesterday in New York. The weather we’ve been having – mid-80s in the day with little humidity and mid-60s at night; ideal. I don’t have my AC on – or rather, I don’t own an AC. My terrace door is open and it’s very comfortable (with two small Vornado fans to press the wind). The town really empties out for this holiday weekend. The city is lovely on such occasions. You walk, or ride, around and get to see the wonder of all wherever you go.|
If you are in the City and you’re a person who likes to take advantage of its advantages, I always suggest to visitors and especially those with families, that they go to the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) on Columbus Circle. We’ve been covering the project of the museum growing, a-building since the early '90s into the burgeoning institution that it is today. I am not a connoisseur, nor knowledgable. If I go to a gallery opening or an important exhibit, I especially like to go in the company of my friend Charlie Scheips who occasionally writes Art Set for us because he’s an art historian, a curator and he can translate what my eyes are seeing so that Isee it. At MAD, you are the curator; you see it and get your own message, of which there are many, as well as one.
|A couple of weeks ago I went with JH and his Digital to their exhibition Studio Job MAD HOUSE. It’s been pointed out ot me several times as particularly interesting. And new, to these eyes.|
How do I describe it to you? That’s what I was thinking when we were given a tour by Ronald Labaco, who curated it for MAD. This is the first solo museum exhibition in this country to present an exhibition of the creative vision of two design collaborators Job Smeets (Belgian, b. 1970) and Nynke Tynagel (Dutch, b. 1977), who established their atelier Studio Job in Belgium in 1998.
|In this exhibition, Studio Job transformed two of the Museum floors into an experience which includes sculpture, lighting, furniture, floor coverings, wallpaper, drawings, and other objects that reference the history of arts patronage, of collecting, and of display. The works works are presented as if in a collector's home. They’re organized to suggest imagined narratives that fuse elements of history, fantasy, irony, and autobiography.|
There are 57 pieces. All will make you look the way you can't avoid looking at something so personally curious. Four pieces make their international debut in this exhibition: Pan wall mirror (2015); Pipe table (2015); Sex Cake table lamp (2016); and Sinking Ship table (2016), along with four sketches and full-scale color drawings—works of art in themselves—that document the artistic process. Four private commissions are shown publically for the first time: Pitchfork and Shovel (2014) in cast bronze; Heart (2012–13) in stained glass; Dr. Crützen Illuminator (2011–12) in stained glass; and Unity cabinet (2011) in marquetry.
|Ron Labaco told us that Studio Job is one of the most distinctive contemporary design studios in the world today. The exhibition’s concept set their work in loose, sometimes contradictory groupings around ideas such as 'love/lust,' 'agrarian/pre-industrial,' and 'church/religion.'|
It’s fascinating and curious to view. All ages will find it so, but for different reasons. This is evidently the way the artists wanted it: to get you to bring your own interpretation to what you’re seeing, and what it’s telling us.
|Since 2000, Smeets and Tynagel have developed a distinctive body of highly expressive and opulent work that incorporates pattern, ornament, irony, monumentality, and provocation, as well as personal, historic, and sociocultural narrative. There is also the commitment tocraftsmanship. This reflects an ongoing revival of traditional applied-arts practices -- bronze casting, gilding, marquetry, stained glass, and faience -- but with a contemporary (read post-Modern) perspective. They operate in the manner of a traditional Old Master studio, engaging the skills of the most talented artisans in the production of their work.|
Go, see for yourself ...