Increasingly, we spend the majority of our time inside; interiors, and the objects that they contain, drive and host our lives. Material causes have immaterial effects. A Viewing Room, now in its second iteration, began with a proposition: to bring the private public. This led to a series of questions...
To begin, how is public space actually distinct from private? Does a work of art function differently when viewed in domestic versus communal situations? If so, then why? What creates this contrast? Is it possible to make a public, open environment feel intimate? Or, for a private, personal room to seem more expansive? What role do objects play in these questions, art or otherwise? What is the actual use value of gathering, collectively, in order to view art? How can conversation that emphasizes speculation over didactics shift the ways in which we understand both art and the space of exhibition?
At present―when many feel it necessary to invest in more durable and thoughtful relationships between the things we make, buy, and use—a renewed interest in Shaker design has surfaced. Marked by a deep commitment to functionalism, their way of life and method of making were inherently intertwined. This method followed the same philosophy that guided their community as a whole: to eliminate all unnecessary forms of ornamentation, the type of beauty that lies in excess. Every object was devised to meet, completely yet economically, a predetermined requirement. Immaterial causes had material effects. Nevertheless, this restraint developed into a new aesthetic which in turn contributed to the rise of a minimalist impulse across creative disciplines. Responding to iconic Shaker forms, with special consideration of the gallery space, furniture designer Andrew Reesor has developed a series of Douglas-fir benches that explore this utilitarian and ubiquitous piece of gallery furniture. Simply entitled, Bench, his project follows research into the benches of the Shaker Meeting House―communal rooms designed for the gathering of bodies. As an object with no front or back, benches inherently create space. And, while they imply an intended use, they do not dictate how they are used.
As a summer-long experiment in collaboration A Viewing Room v.2, aims to encourage both conversation and reflection through the intersection of art and design. By presenting a rotating selection of artworks from inventory and special events, our hope is to provide space to re-examine a work’s meaning and qualities of relation outside their original context. As such, let us know if you would like to see a particular work installed.