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Wendell Castle Remastered at the MAD New York

Transcendence seems to be key when describing art design-forerunner Wendell Castle’s iconic sculptural furniture but perhaps also in the blending of past and present – the line behind his latest retrospective...
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Transcendence seems to be key when describing art design-forerunner Wendell Castle‘s iconic sculptural furniture but perhaps also in the blending of past and present – the line behind his latest retrospective at New York’s Museum of Arts & Design (MAD). Spread across two dramatic dark-green-clad levels, the exhibition – devised by MAD’s Marcia Docter Senior Curator Ron Labaco – features 15 works from the late 195o’s through 1960s, juxtaposed with 16 recently ‘remastered’ pieces – created using the artist’s new ‘Mr. Chipper’ robotic arm. Castle sought out to only employ the new technology for a portion of his process; stead fast in his hands-on drawing and modelling practice. A laser scanned and translated carved maquettes into digital drawings; later CNC-ed directly into a plethora of wood, he has used since the beginning of his career. For the artist, such a tool allowed for more complexity in detail and larger forms but didn’t fully replace his trusted chainsaw. Tables, benches and tables twist, undulate and morph into sublime shapes; functional furniture. For these latest iterations, he still employed a tried-and-mastered lacquered-wood technique that assures sturdiness and longevity. Complex layer densities and grain patterns render combined convex, concave, conical and spherical elements. Videos and mocks-ups provide a behind-the-scenes look at different stages in Castle’s production. Many pieces on show were provided by New York-based gallery Friedman Benda.

Wendell Castle Remastered: 20 October 2015 to 28 February 2016 at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD): 2 Columbus Circle, New York

Long Night (2011) Stained Peruvian Walnut, Photo by Jon Lam Photography, courtesy of Friedman Benda, New York
Long Night (2011) Stained Peruvian Walnut, Photo by Jon Lam Photography, courtesy of Friedman Benda, New York
The Secret of a Few (2012) Stained Ash, Photo by Jon Lam Photography, courtesy of Friedman Benda, New York
The Secret of a Few (2012) Stained Ash, Photo by Jon Lam Photography, courtesy of Friedman Benda, New York
Cloud Shelf (1969) Gel-Coated Fiberglass, Reinforced Plastic, Photo by Matt Wittmeyer, courtesy of Friedman Benda and the artist
Cloud Shelf (1969) Gel-Coated Fiberglass, Reinforced Plastic, Photo by Matt Wittmeyer, courtesy of Friedman Benda and the artist
Table-Chair-Stool (1968) Afromosia and African Hardwoods. Photo courtesy of Sherry Griffin/R & Company © Wendell Castle, Inc.
Table-Chair-Stool (1968) Afromosia and African Hardwoods. Photo courtesy of Sherry Griffin/R & Company © Wendell Castle, Inc.
Environment for Contemplation (1969-70) Oak, Gel-Coated Fibreglass, Reinforced Plastic, Photo courtesy of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and © Wendell Castle, Inc.
Environment for Contemplation (1969-70) Oak, Gel-Coated Fibreglass, Reinforced Plastic, Photo courtesy of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and © Wendell Castle, Inc.
Walnut Sculpture (1958-59) Walnut, Brass Pins, Photo by Adam Reich Photography, courtesy of Friedman Benda, New York
Walnut Sculpture (1958-59) Walnut, Brass Pins, Photo by Adam Reich Photography, courtesy of Friedman Benda, New York
Stool (1963) Cherry, Photo by Elizabeth Torrance, courtesy of Roy Cartwright
Stool (1963) Cherry, Photo by Elizabeth Torrance, courtesy of Roy Cartwright
Serpentine Floor Lamp (1965) Mahogany, Photo courtesy of The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Serpentine Floor Lamp (1965) Mahogany, Photo courtesy of The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Model of Dining Table (2015) in Castle's studio, Photo by Matt Wittmeyer, courtesy of Friedman Benda and the artist
Model of Dining Table (2015) in Castle's studio, Photo by Matt Wittmeyer, courtesy of Friedman Benda and the artist
Castle in his studio, Photo by Matt Wittmeyer, courtesy of Friendman Benda and the artist
Castle in his studio, Photo by Matt Wittmeyer, courtesy of Friendman Benda and the artist
"Mr. Chipper" robotic arm in Castle's studio, Photo by Matt Wittmeyer, courtesy of Friendman Benda and the artist
"Mr. Chipper" robotic arm in Castle's studio, Photo by Matt Wittmeyer, courtesy of Friendman Benda and the artist
Photo by Matt Wittmeyer, courtesy of Friedman Benda and the artist
Photo by Matt Wittmeyer, courtesy of Friedman Benda and the artist
Portrait of Wendell Castle seated on Long Night (2011) Photo by Adrien Millot, courtesy of Friedman Benda and the artist
Portrait of Wendell Castle seated on Long Night (2011) Photo by Adrien Millot, courtesy of Friedman Benda and the artist
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