Published: December 13, 2016
Review and Photos by Greg Smith
NEW YORK CITY – Sandy Smith sat in a tall chair at the gate of The Salon Art + Design with a loud and upturned smile to match his fuchsia jacket and scarf. While it might have seemed like Jill Bokor, chief operating officer and executive director of the show, had the better job that evening, Smith seemed right at home scanning in tickets and greeting the lifeblood of the show, the attendees. The Park Avenue Armory filled up rather quickly with a young and international clientele on its opening night gala. New York City’s perennial historic and contemporary design fair ran November 10-14 and pulled in galleries both domestic and international in a show that touched upon nearly every major category of design in the last hundred years, from Arts and Crafts to French and Italian Modernism, Pop, Scandinavian and a formidable showing of top-tier contemporary designers and artists.
Paris-based Gallerie kreo carried a modern mix of Twentieth Century and contemporary design. Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s lit work from the “Chains” series hung gracefully from the ceiling of the booth. The white plaster, bell-form sections create a chain that is illuminated from under each segment, bathing the piece under it in light. “The bell shape is always popping up in their work,” said a gallery representative. Indeed, the form is reminiscent of the brothers’ Gabriel Chandelier, the monumental Swarovski crystal chandelier installed in Versailles above the Gabriel Staircase in 2013. Also on show were lighting works by Serge Mouille and a “Smile” ceiling light by Jaime Hayon, as well as a marble “M&C Coffee Table” by Pierre Charprin.
A formidable private collection of fine American Arts and Crafts furniture by architect Harvey Ellis was on offer in the booth of Oscar Graf, Paris. The gallery is known for showcasing high-quality works from French, British and American makers between 1870 and 1910. The furniture, which included a music cabinet, desk, lantern and side chair, was made in the Craftsman Workshops in Eastwood, N.Y., in 1903 and featured the fine pewter and copper decoration for which Ellis is so well known.
An eye-catching chandelier by Frida Fjellman sat across the hall in the booth of Hostler Burrows, New York City. The multicolored piece featured a hung and bunched group of blown glass crystal-form shades tied together with golden chains. The glass was blown by Fjellman in the Kosta Boda workshop and featured cool tones with a single light at center. Hostler Burrows carried other vintage Scandinavian works, including furniture and ceramics.
Patrick Derom Gallery, Belgium, featured Postwar abstract works, including pieces by Belgian artist Pol Bury (1922-2005). The artist’s work throughout the 1950s dealt with optical illusion and his mobiles were featured alongside works by Calder, Duchamp and Tinguely in the 1955 exhibition “Le Mouvement,” organized by Denise René. In Derom’s booth hung a black and white painted mobile from the “Plans Mobiles” series that could be purposefully reconfigured by the owner to fit a number of different forms. Next to it was a shifting work, “Ponctuation,” executed in 1959, where a black perforated panel rotates via motor above a white perforated panel, forcefully changing the viewers perspective.
Works by Leo Amino were on show in the booth of Mark McDonald, Hudson, N.Y. The dealer has sold numerous works by the late American artist over his career and featured a mix of acrylic and carved wood pieces for this exhibition. Amino lived a celebrated career, appearing in shows at MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as teaching at the Black Mountain College and Cooper Union. In 1937, Amino studied carving under Chaim Gross, which undoubtedly influenced his carved wood pieces, which are his most valuable works and regularly fetch $20,000 to $50,000 at auction. In McDonald’s booth, a fanciful resin cat and body form sat in front of two carved wood pieces, one featured two sweeping forms in mahogany and the other more desirable example was a tall abstract carving made of numerous individually carved pieces stacked atop one another.
Visitors to the booth of Cristina Grajales Gallery, New York City, were in for a surprise with the headless taxidermied bird lamp by Sebastian Errazuriz. The floor lamp featured a brass stem and branches with taxidermy birds perched on each, a small light bulb in place of their missing heads. The gallery also featured lacquered and brass furniture by Mexican designer Gloria Cortina. While lacquer may not be thought of as a Mexican tradition, the designer found that Mexican artisans developed lacquer techniques as they handled chinoiserie furniture that passed through Mexico City on its way to the United States. On one particular piece in the booth, Cortina combined hand hammered brass and silver over multilevel cubes to create a dramatic and artful bench.
Ayala Serfaty was present at the booth of Maison Gerard, New York City, where the designer showcased both furniture and her famed SOMA lights, consisting of thin glass rods, encapsulated in a translucent polymer membrane. “I find inspiration in nature,” Serfaty said. The SOMA lights came in all forms, from table lamps to chandeliers and could be multiplied and paired down as the designer saw fit. The gallery was also showing off a furniture line by the artist in which she creates handmade wool and silk felt fibers and molds them onto a chair form to create a soft and unique upholstery.
Those who watched the recent video on the furniture survey at the Victoria and Albert Museum would have recognized “The George Chest” by Gareth Neal featured at the Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London. The chest takes the form of a 1780s George III commode with computer-controlled cutting used to make rectilinear cuts to add modern dimension and hand chiseling used to demonstrate “the erosion of time,” revealing the classical form beneath. The gallery also featured collaborative vessels between Neal and Zaha Hadid, which looked like classically formed vessels, stylized with ribs and then stretched through hyperspeed to give an elongated form. The vessels were exhibited at the V&A during the 2014 London Design Festival.
Todd Merrill Studio, New York City, featured an impressive micro stack-laminate veneer chaise lounge by Marc Fish. “Laminaria” is the product of the artist’s exploration into seaweed forms, which can be seen in the way Fish flairs out the individual ribbons, as if they were floating with the tides underwater. The high energy grains and flowing nature of the piece made it a popular stop at the show.
The Salon Art + Design will be back at the Park Avenue Armory again next November 9-13 For more information, www.thesalonny.com.
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