Anyone still clinging to boundary lines between artwork and design object might joyfully give up the fight after a wander through the vast, enervating “Local Objects,” a new show curated by Nate Heiges, Matt Taber, and Trang Tran. The trio, along with partner Annaka Olsen, have filled their new Bushwick gallery International Objects with dozens of examples of categorical futility from some of New York’s most vital artists.
“The separation of [art and design] seems to originate from a market distinction of how the objects should be contextualized or used,” says Taber. “Our curatorial process disregards these distinctions in favor of the content that each object possesses.” As an example, Taber points to Gerardo Ismael Madera’s Walled Garden Model 1 (Errant Root, Unpolished). The object is a reading chair that repurposes a vernacular Caribbean/Latin American cockfighting chair, rendered in an aggregate of Yucca flour, mahogany pod and brick powders, shellac, pulp, and chicken wire.
“The objects around us have become political actors,” Taber says. “We believe that Madera’s work is exemplary of the iconoclasm of an object taken out of its context.” And such iconoclasm was a blockbuster—on opening night, the only line was made of the city’s cognoscenti, wrapped for blocks around the building, and then reforming later at a warehouse nearby for the after-hours bacchanal.