George Beylerian celebrates Italian design with the launch of Design Memorabilia

By NICOLE ANDERSON

Profile Vase by Andrea Branzi.

ITALIAN DESIGN HAS HAD A FIRM GRIP ON GEORGE M. BEYLERIAN ever since he first entered the field in 1964. “I was a victim, a lucky victim,” he says with a laugh. When reflecting on the genesis of his career in design, the founder of Material ConneXion, the world’s largest materials resource library, thinks back to those formative years he spent in Italy, surrounded by designers and witnessing firsthand their ingenuity and prodigious output. “My early years in business took me to Italy, and that really forced things because Italy is full of design and creativity,” Beylerian recalls. The launch of his latest venture, Design Memorabilia, this past summer, brings him full circle—collaborating once again with some of the very designers and friends he has worked with over the last five decades, harking back to the time of his first business in New York City, the popular design store Scarabaeus, which opened in the mid-1960s and was known for its Italian home furnishings. Continue reading→

Super Show: FOG Design + Art in San Francisco

By Carolyn Pastel

David Wiseman, Unique Radial Branch illuminated sculpture at R & Company.

The new year is off to a fresh and energizing start at the third annual Fog Design + Art Fair in San Francisco. This nicely scaled show with a carefully edited roster of 43 exhibitors, that includes Matthew Marks, Galerie Keo, Atlman Siegel Gallery, and Reform Gallery, is a balanced mix of established and emerging dealers of art and design from the United States and abroad. It’s the perfect formula in a city that is ripe for more art engagement opportunities. Over 8,000 visitors attended the fair, up from 6,000 just last year. From a digital art installation influenced by ancient Japanese Art to exquisite nature-inspired handcrafted furniture to artworks by Lichtenstein and Nicole Wermers, the fair offered a diverse snapshot of local and internationally recognized artists and designers under one roof. Organized by a volunteer steering committee with proceeds from the show and preview gala supporting SFMOMA, reopening in May, the enthusiasm for supporting and engaging with the arts was palpable. This fair is a must-see on your art fair calendar. Continue reading→

Modern Family

At Kinder Modern, the designs may be pint-sized, but the ideas are larger than life
By FRANCES BRENT

Lucas Maassen, interested in legacy and familial ties that used to be commonplace in the trades of fine carpentry and cabinetmaking, hired his sons to paint the furniture he created. The boys sign their names on the bottom of each object they paint by hand. The desk and chair at left dates from 2013.

IT CAN’T BE A COINCIDENCE that The Story of the Three Bears, which is about a little girl and a little bear, a bowl of porridge, a chair, and a bed that is “just right,” became popular at the start of the Victorian period when there began to be public concern for the well-being of children, and artisans began to focus attention on objects that would be the right fit for childhood. Not long ago, I visited Kinder Modern, a design gallery in New York devoted to vintage and contemporary furniture for children, accessories such as chalkboards or clothes stands, and a small group of prized toys such as the Schaukelwagon by Hans Brockhage and Erwin Andra. The objects are stunning, some of them handmade or made to order, and you can see in them a trajectory of adult ideas about what fits the world of childhood and how childhood fits the world of adults. Lora Appleton and Bachman Clem, who are partners in the venture, have chosen to showcase work that has played a significant role in design history, “based on materiality as well as function,” Lora says. With an effervescent laugh, she adds, “Most of what I like to do is buy for use…whether you’re a collector or not, I don’t care, let’s use them.” Continue reading→

Grading System: At Georg Jensen, the Glitter is Silver

WITH A FOCUS ON THE MID-CENTURY, TROY SEIDMAN LOOKS AT IMPORTANT AND ELEGANT WORKS OF THE LEGENDARY DANISH SILVERSMITH

In September the London Financial Times included a tidy and uplifting article on renewed interest in collecting silver—both from contemporary creators and established silversmiths, active or dead. The author, Trish Lorenz, noted that historically silver was an important status symbol in the home but had fallen out of fashion during the second half of the twentieth century. Its recent (but subtle) momentum in the marketplace can be attributed to a number of factors, including a desire for provenance, or for objects that were created from exceptional materials, demonstrate craftsmanship or innovative manufacturing processes, or have the potential to appreciate in value. Continue reading→

Fashion Forward: When What We Wear Becomes Art to See

— By Beth Dunlop

Iris Van Herpen

COLLECTORS AND CONNOISSEURS OF DESIGN look for inspiration in many places, from the hardware store to the runway. This winter, fashion design comes into sharp focus with exhibitions that look at yesterday, today, and tomorrow. “Fashion is one of the most accessible of design disciplines, since we all use it, or we choose to reject it. Although it’s accessible, it’s not necessarily simplistic,” says Cathy Leff, the founder of the small jewel-like gallery installation called the Fashion Project at Miami’s Bal Harbour Shops. “Clothes carry many messages and narratives—about the maker, the wearer, lives lived, cultural attitudes, norms, and values. Examined in the broader context of an exhibition, dress speaks about the people who created and wore it, how they lived, what they did, the materials they used or worshipped,” Leff says. Continue reading→

On the Rise: Galleries Move Up and Out

By Beth Dunlop

A LOFTY NEW PERCH FOR DELORENZO GALLERY
DeLorenzo, the magisterial Madison Avenue gallery that was long one of New York’s most important showcases of art deco and modern design, has a new location and a new incarnation. The gallery—it opened in 1980 and for some thirty-three years was part of the avenue’s street scene—now occupies the sunny, spacious fourth floor of 969 Madison, a building that is actually entered on East 76th Street. “We’re very lucky to have natural light,” says Adriana Friedman, the gallery director. Continue reading→

In Los Angeles, Two Shows Look at Artists to Know

—By Adam Dunlop-Farkas

LAWREN HARRIS AT THE HAMMER
A new exhibition at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles illuminates the career of an early twentieth-century artist still relatively unknown outside his home country. But for Canadians, the painter Lawren Harris (1885–1970) holds a status equal to that of his modernist contemporaries Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Hopper in the United States. The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris offers a retrospective of the artist’s most important works—his remote wilderness landscapes from the 1920s and ’30s. During this period he was active with the Group of Seven, a collective of Canadian landscape painters he co-founded in an attempt to establish a national artistic identity. The works on display feature stark, dramatic scenes of mountains, icebergs, lakes, and barren trees that present the isolation of Canada’s geography as spectacle. Paintings such as the famous North Shore, Lake Superior and Mt. Lefroy demonstrate Harris’s ability to combine elements of realism and romantic landscape painting with modernist forms of geometric abstraction. Continue reading→

St. Louis Honors its Iconic Arch with a Closer Look

— Sarah C. Truckey

TO THOSE WHO LIVE NEAR IT, St. Louis’s Gateway Arch serves as the backdrop to baseball games, a highlight in the riverside skyline, and a welcoming beacon to those traveling west. Despite the public’s initial resistance to its abstract parabolic shape, the steel-clad national landmark by Finnish-born Eero Saarinen is celebrated as both a symbol of civic pride and prosperity and as a monumental achievement when talking about mid-century modernism in America and, more specifically, in St. Louis. Continue reading→

Not a Still Life

GAETANO PESCE’S COLORFUL AND IMAGINATIVE BOOKCASE IS AS MUCH ADVENTURE AS OBJECT

By Al Eiber

Gaetano Pesce’s Miami Sound bookcase, 1995–1996, in our home. The drawing is one of several that Pesce supplied during the design process. Photos by Robin Hill.

Gaetano Pesce is an architect, industrial designer, artist, painter, and philosopher, and he has been my dear friend for more than twenty years. In our long conversations and by studying his work, I have come to admire him for his endless curiosity and as someone who looks only forward, never back. He is always experimenting, never satisfied, always evolving, breaking every mold that has stood in his way for close to fifty years. Continue reading→

Contemporary Jewelry Takes a Stand

By Toni Greenbaum

“One reason that we prize jewelry so highly…is the way that it concentrates an artist’s ideas in such a condensed form” —Glenn Adamson

(left to right) Helen Williams Drutt wearing earrings, necklace, brooch, cuff, and ring, all from her collection; Karl Bollmann wearing Graffiti brooch by Annamaria Zanella, 1990–1999; Marjan Unger wearing Sketch for Sleeping Beauty II necklace by Robert Smit, 1990; Lois Boardman wearing I Earned My Wings neckpiece of taxidermy parakeet wings by Afke Golsteijn, 2013; Deedie Potter Rose wearing an iron and enamel brooch by Bettina Dittlman, c. 2004–2006.

Throughout history, jewelry has been social marker and amulet, used to enhance sexual allure, or for ceremony and ritual. Over time, jewelry-making evolved into a fine craft, largely created from precious metals and gemstones—which most still is. Nonetheless, a small but dedicated group of connoisseurs seeks a type of jewelry—termed “contemporary”—that, like painting and sculpture, is a vehicle for aesthetic expression. Its value can come from the exploration of ideas, new technology, and the incorporation of topical issues and even commentary. At times the work is conceptual, even provocative. Often it is very beautiful. Much of it stands out for the use of unexpected materials such as steel, wood, plastic, detritus, textiles, photographs, and even taxidermy. Continue reading→