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September 24, 2019  |  

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Perverse Furniture is on view through Saturday, June 29. 

Photo by Jessica Smolinski

Perverse Furniture is on view through Saturday, June 29. (Photo by Jessica Smolinski )

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Artspace’s galleries are fitting for the show, since they used to house Chamberlain’s Furniture, a Civil War-era storefront and furniture factory. Photo by Jessica Smolinski

Artspace’s galleries are fitting for the show, since they used to house Chamberlain’s Furniture, a Civil War-era storefront and furniture factory. (Photo by Jessica Smolinski )

Upsetting the Conventional Notions of Furniture

Published Jun 13, 2019 • Last Updated 11:05 am, June 11, 2019

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Perverse Furniture, a group exhibition that upsets conventional notions of furniture to explore a range of materially expressive and emotionally intelligent designs for the body, is being offered by Artspace, 50 Orange Street, New Haven through Saturday, June 29.

There will be a reception of Bauhaus in New Haven Thursday, June 27 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. At the reception, Jason Bischoff-Wurstle, director of the Photo Archives at the New Haven Museum, with the curators of Perverse Furniture, will discuss the reception of the Bauhaus in New Haven from the 1950s to the 1970s and its relationship to the show. This period was marked by Maurice E.H. Rotival’s modernist city plan, which emphasized high-speed travel by highways and air, the election of a determined young mayor named Richard C. Lee, and the desire of Yale University to grow and expand its reach, physically and in academics. Armed with deep pockets and the brightest young architectural talent in the United States, Yale partnered with the city and acted independently to enact a series of bold visions that promoted New Haven as a model of post war modernity. The reception event is free and open to all.

Organized on the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus, the Artspace exhibition explores how three generations of U.S.-based artists grappled with the German school’s legacies and ideological roots. The artists include Graham Anderson, Johanna Bresnick, Bernadette Despujols, Brian Galderisi, Bob Gregson, Crystal Heiden, Robert Chase Heishman and Megan Schvaneveldt, Meredith James, Kyle Kearson, Juliana Cerqueira Leite, Esteban Ramón Pérez, Robert Narracci, Jeff Ostergren, Jessi Reaves, Chris Ruggiero, and Nina Yuen.

Aesthetically Antithetical

The practices on display share Bauhaus’s core concern of understanding humankind’s place among machines. But rather than strive for the possibility of a perfect marriage between art, technology, and industry, they interrogate the ways that objects serve our physical and psychological needs. Looking broadly at overlaps in art, architecture, and design today, the works are aesthetically antithetical to the iconic objects of Bauhaus design. In their quests to humanize design, they are inefficient, weepy, oddball, excessive, loud, legible, performative, humorous, participatory, kitsch, impenetrable, impractical, non-functional, overbearing, multi-centered, uneven, empathetic, multivalent, and sometimes so perverse as to be nearly alive.

Artspace’s galleries at 50 Orange Street are especially fitting for this show, as they formerly housed Chamberlain’s Furniture, a Civil-War Era storefront and furniture factory. Even from the outside, viewers can glimpse at the surprises within.

More information is available at artspacenewhaven.org.

This exhibition is co-curated by Artspace Curator/Gallery Director Sarah Fritchey and New Haven-based architect/artist Aude Jomini. It was made possible by the support of The Andy Warhol Foundation of the Arts, New Haven Museum, Yale University School of Architecture, and Friends of Artspace.

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