My Highlights from Design Miami/ 2013

Glenn Adamson
Nov 26, 2013 2:17PM

My selections reflect longstanding interests of the Museum of Arts and Design—skilled making above all, as well as particular genres that we explore in depth such as furniture, jewelry, and metalware—and also our determination to reflect new currents in creative practice. I have chosen to put my choices into pairs. Juxtaposition of this kind is one of the things museums do best, highlighting each maker’s unique contributions while also suggesting deeper patterns of taste, technique, and theoretical engagement.

My Selection:

Art SmithNecklace, circa 1950, at Mark McDonald

Necklace, ca. 1950
Mark McDonald

Art Espenet CarpenterWishbone chair, 1986, at Moderne Gallery

Wishbone Chair, 1986
Moderne Gallery

It’s hard to believe that two of the leading postwar craft makers were called Art Smith and Art Carpenter, but nonetheless true. These two works exemplify the two makers’ thorough embrace of organic design, with smooth, flowing contours imbued into material by the hand.

David Clarke, Ooh La La, 2007, at Ornamentum

Ooh La La, 2007

David WisemanSmooth Vase, 2012, at R 20th Century Gallery

Smooth vase, 2012
R & Company

These works in silver show the range of what is happening in the medium today: from Clarke’s rough handling of two found objects, smash-jointed together, to Wiseman’s subtle application of traditional raising skills.

Faye ToogoodCaged Elements Table, 2013, at Galerie BSL

Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Postmodern aesthetics—hard edges, industrial materials, and strong color—are back in a big way at the moment. Toogood and Grawunder are two designers mining this source with particular elegance, bringing to the vocabulary a poise that 1980s work largely lacked.

Ifeanyi OganwuSplice, 2012, at Priveekollektie

Splice, 2012
Priveekollektie Contemporary Art | Design

The exhibition currently on view at MAD, “Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital”, is filled with hybrid objects like these which are made through a combination of handcraft and boundary-pushing technology.

Gijs BakkerBrooch “Still Life”, 2008, at Caroline Van Hoek

Karl Fritsch1 Kilo Gold Vessel, at Ornamentum

1 Kilo Gold Vessel

I love the juxtaposition of these two pieces—their contrasting meditations on the inherent value of materials. Though one is made of base materials painted to look precious and the other of solid gold, each draws its real value through the happy union of concept and facture.

Glenn Adamson