Make Me @ Moss Gallery, New York

Make Me @ Moss Gallery, New York

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, Moss Gallery has continuously presented, through highly curated exhibitions in its now-iconic SoHo gallery, as well as its installations at Design Miami/Basel, the ever-evolving rich dialogue between Industrial Design and Studio Art, illuminating the intersections of various disciplines as they merge and morph, fluidly crossing boundaries and breaking taboos surrounding function, decoration, art and design.

Championing the work of narrative as well as process-based conceptual artist/designers such as Tord Boontje, Maarten Baas, Fernando and Humberto Campana, Studio Job, Gaetano Pesce, Hella Jongerius, Tom Dixon, Arik Levy, and Andrea Salvetti, Moss articulates the vital thinking that is inherent in their works.

While there is never at any one moment a singular, all pervasive and universal narrative being written in design or art, occasionally there emerges a critical mass, a ‘tipping point’ as author Malcom Gladwell calls it, of influential designers and artists, some established and some perhaps little known outside their professional circles, whose work simultaneously addresses similar issues or reflects similar contemporary-culture realities (perhaps aesthetic, or political, or economic, or sociological in nature), embodying certain across-the-board characteristics which cumulatively have the potential to create a social epidemic, like a virus moving through the population.

“MAKE ME.” presents a small but diverse body of work by an otherwise un-related collective of artists and designers, which together celebrate a rough-hewn, virile, reductive, anti-academic, craft-driven, ‘tool-belt and heavy-lifting’ aesthetic, paradoxically realized with such sensitivity and finesse, often embodying subtle, complex theoretical, structural, formal, and compositional aspects, and infused with such poetic narrative as to be necessarily characterized as ‘butch’, a word defined in today’s vernacular as a stereotypical ‘brute-masculine’ approach taken by a stereotypical ‘sensitive-feminine’ personality.

We introduce the term ‘Butch-Craft’ in an effort to articulate a phenomena: that after years of an increasingly accepted yet hard-won broader, more inclusive definition of design, liberated only recently from the once mandatory ‘form follows function’ credo, we are witnessing a kind of backlash. Not a retreat from the now-accepted practice of infusing poetic narrative into functional objects — we still want to engage more fully with our object culture, not simply regard it as a ‘tool for living’. No, rather than a retreat from this positive development, we are seeing the emergence of an alternative means of giving this ‘art content’ form and expression in functional objects.

Joost signing the corroded cupboard

Poetic narrative no longer needs to be dressed in traditional ‘Art’ garb — it no longer needs to ‘pass’ as Art. Gilded bronze, exotic regionalisms, complex and immaculately executed 3-D printed abstract futuristic forms, while still employed as critical elements by certain recognized masters, no longer exclusively define art-in-design. Works, both past and present, that overtly resemble ‘furniture’, executed in wood and iron and steel and stone, are now in fact automatically assumed to contain a narrative, a poetic gesture. Function no longer is presumed to neuter any potential for Art; we accept that addressing a prosaic function doesn’t lead necessarily to a prosaic object.

Through the examples we present in “MAKE ME.”, we acknowledge a tipping point, where art-in-design no longer needs to look like what we recognize as Art; art-in-design no longer needs to wear its art on its sleeve.

Murray Moss

August 2010



Of  General Interest  – and since RESOLVED

5th November, 2010

Moss, the influential design store and gallery located in New York’s SoHo, was temporarily seized by the State of New York for nonpayment of taxes.

Murray Moss assures fans and customers that the closure is due to a paperwork misfiling, not imminent financial closure, though they are taking steps, as we all are, to run their business better.

“As explained to us yesterday, mid-day, during an unexpected visit by officials from the NY State Tax Department, due to our failure to file a document (one of literally hundreds!) with the Department, an official, non-negotiable ‘procedure’ was triggered, whereby Moss was required to temporarily close…

Our tax advisors, lawyers, and accountant have been great, working throughout the evening and morning to satisfy this State bureaucratic situation (which escalates 10-fold once the ‘procedure’ has been implemented); we believe we can get them all the documents they need within today, and re-open, if not tomorrow, then hopefully by Monday. ( which they duly did)

Response from Moss

“We are of course embarrassed and a bit shaken (it’s not a fun moment when the State officials arrive…), but are at least grateful that the problem is in fact bureaucratic, and that we have resources in place, and that the problem can be remedied quickly (although at the State’s ‘pace’….).

Because we’ve all been in dialogue, we know that many of you, like Moss, during the severe economic downturn of the past two years, in addition to possibly downsizing where logical, until growth is again possible, have entered into negotiations with various business partners, as well as the State, to arrive at mutually acceptable financial arrangements which make sense and allow for a stable, doable plan going forward. We have put financing in place, adjusted our overhead, and re-evaluated our projections, and are ready to go forward. This is to re-iterate to our friends: we are, in short, ok.

And in two weeks we will begin to install what we believe will be a fabulous Holiday offering.

That’s it!  Sorry for the inconvenience; thank you for your concern and love and support.”

Franklin and Murray

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