The objects, designers, news, and events worth knowing about.
Gaetano Pesce, roaring along at 83, just produced a 400-chair set for Bottega Veneta in the gloopy resins that made him a postmodern legend. His archive, naturally, is an object of curiosity — and when Galerie56’s Lee Mindel saw the sketches tacked up around Pesce’s Brooklyn Navy Yard studio, he had the idea of re-creating the vibe in a public venue. Pesce’s furniture is already pretty out there, and his works on paper — sketches for never-built architectural projects, studies for his anthropomorphic chairs — are even more audacious, humorous, and provocative. One plan for a garden looks like a deranged face from a bird’s-eye view. Through May 8.
Artist Rafael Prieto’s first furniture series is an oddly satisfying assemblage of materials that fit snugly, but not neatly, together: He made a side table from a hand-carved hunk of white pine and a jagged cast-glass top, and embedded a ceramic mold of his partner’s shirt into a brutalist-looking concrete coffee table. Both of those projects and more are on view in “Together Over Time” at the Upper East Side design gallery Emma Scully. Prieto sees the collection as a metaphor for his friendships and relationships, told through the different textures and craft techniques he used in each piece. The handmade glass buttons on Prieto’s upholstered benches are especially striking: They were cast from pebbles, and the stitches holding them down grab hold of grooves rather than the usual little holes. Through June 3.
Holloway Li’s ’90s Nostalgia at Coming Soon
The British designers Alex Holloway and Na Li have managed to out-Chiclet the Chiclet chair. Their new hard-shelled modular seats, called the T4 series, look even more like the retro candy-coated gum than Ray Wilkes’s 1976 design does, while also making reference to 1990s furniture and interiors like the TV sets in the confessional rooms in the early seasons of Big Brother. This time, though, they are here to make friends. Available starting April 13 at Coming Soon’s Allen Street showroom.
Helen Levi’s New Ridgewood Shop
The status ceramicist Helen Levi — Instagram-famous for her marble-glaze mugs and planters — has been selling one-offs and discounted pieces from her collection at monthly studio sales for years. Her fans kept asking to come by at other times, so she’s now opening her Ridgewood studio to shoppers two days a week. You’re perhaps too late to pick up a Seder plate, but a few are here for next year, as are planters, mugs, plates, and tiles; her seconds, which are 20 to 40 percent less than regular pieces; and one-offs that aren’t listed on her website, like tree-size planters. 562 Grandview Ave., Ridgewood. Open Friday and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.
Furniture Inspired by the NYPL’s Picture Collection and Cute Aggression at Colony
Eight months ago, the cooperative gallery Colony, which represents independent designers like textile artist Hiroko Takeda and lighting-maker Bec Brittain, began a residency to help emerging studios develop their first furniture collections, which often augur where the industry will head next. The results are on view in Colony’s Canal Street space, where I was charmed by recent RISD grads Alexis Tingey and Ginger Gordon’s works, full of references to the gloves, lace, hairstyles, and medieval embroidery they saw in the New York Public Library’s Picture Collection. iIt’s exciting to see such a rigorous exploration of softness and femininity. The woodworker Ingemar Hagen-Keith developed a collection of objects that “capture the explosive attraction and raw feeling of cuteness,” as he put it to me, including a nightstand shaped like the silhouette of his cat’s back. The series reflects a sense of wonder that we don’t see enough. Through May 1.
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