NEW YORK — Chairs you can’t sit in, dim lamps, tapestries that won’t close—these are the kinds of objects scattered throughout the second floor of the historic Lever House in Midtown Manhattan. They’re not remnants of a once buzzing and bygone era, but rather are part of the contentious multidisciplinary pop-up show MIDTOWN (May 3 –June 9, 2017). Organized by Maccarone, Salon 94 Design and Salon 94, the exhibition showcases art, design, craft and everything in between by more than 40 artists from around the world.
Feature image: Christine Nofchissey McHorse, Robster Claw, 2016, Micaceous clay, 19 ½ x 10 ¼ x 10¼ inches
MIDTOWN aims to blur the lines dividing art, design, craft and industry, Salon 94 writes, provoking further questions about how society determines value: If an object does not look slick, fabricated, and over-produced, does it have more integrity? If a work is handmade, is it more or less valuable? What if an object’s preconceived function isn’t reality?
Attempting to upset this distinction, MIDTOWN regards objects equally, irrespective of their functionality or method of creation…This show demonstrates an interest in exploiting this collision.
Surface Magazine writes the exhibition is a refreshing break from the usual white-box presentation—context being crucial to the experience.
[It’s] a celebration of the handmade, the show instigates emotions and ideas about the value of art beyond just the price tag.
Roberta Smith from The New York Times writes the Lever House was completed in 1952 during a time when glass-box skyscrapers were relatively new (and terrifying) to much of the general public. The once buzzing office space now evokes a post dot-com era—empty and mute, yet apt and willing.
And, by being stripped down to its concrete bones, it has become the perfect setting for the brawling art. The combined result is like the neglected tail end of a large biennial, where the art arrived but the curators didn’t spend much time arranging it.
Among the many works, there are examples of artist Nick Cave’s ornate assemblages involving textiles sewn together with china plates; Takuro Kuwata’s five-foot-tall conical sculpture in black porcelain and covered with chunks of pink glaze; and Christine Nofchissey McHorse’s enveloped “Robster Claw” vessel.
The vessel sits upon a table made of two massive pieces of interlocking granite by Scott Burton (1939-1989), who mined the gap between sculpture and design, starting in the 1970s and ’80s. Burton (1939-1989), whose gifted life was cut short by AIDS, was one of the first Americans to exploit this in-between space, the Times writes.
Read more from New York Times co-chief art critic Roberta Smith.
MIDTOWN has been organized by the New York art dealers Jeanne Rohatyn Greenberg and Michele Maccarone, and the contemporary design dealer Paul Johnson, with help from the independent curator Ali Subotnick.
You can read an interview with the organizers here.
Participating artists: Vito Acconci, Anton Alvarez, Leonor Antunes, Thomas Barger, Jarrod Beck, Huma Bhabha, Carol Bove, Scott Burton, Nick Cave, Barbara Chase-Riboud, James Crosby, Alex Da Corte, Luca Dellaverson, Andile Dyalvane, R. M. Fischer, Urs Fischer, Luis Flores, FlucT, Christina Forrer, Josep Grau-Garriga, Alex Hubbard, Dozie Kanu, Melike Kara, Jon Kessler, Rosy Keyser, Takuro Kuwata, Max Lamb, Kwangho Lee, Hannah Levy, Hanna Liden, Nate Lowman, Sarah Lucas, Carly Mark, Christine McHorse, Rodney McMillian, Marilyn Minter, Robert Morris, Jayson Musson, Senga Nengudi, Ruby Neri, Leon Niehues, Jo Nigoghossian, Jay Sae Jung Oh, Rick Owens, Virginia Overton, Anna-Bella Papp, Gaetano Pesce, Cheryl Pope, Jessi Reaves, Aneta Regel, Max Hooper Schneider, Eric Serritella, Kenzi Shiokava, Laurie Simmons, Lucien Smith, Keith Sonnier, Ryan Sullivan, Oscar Tuazon, Betty Woodman, Haegue Yang, Daisy Youngblood, Andrea Zittel, and Joe Zucker.
Do you love or loathe this exhibition featuring works from the worlds of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary ceramics? Let us know in the comments.