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 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