My Highlights from Design Miami/ 2013
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.