“Jungle”, Monumental Wool Tapestry by Jan Yoors, 1968
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TODD MERRILL STUDIO EXHIBITING AT PAVILLON DES ARTS & DESIGN PARIS, MARCH 30-APRIL 3, 2011
March 30, 2010, Paris, France—Todd Merrill is pleased to present “Studio Continuum: 20th—21st Century” at the Pavillon of Arts and Design in Paris, March 30 – April 3, 2011, where three new Studio Contemporary artists will have their Paris debut: Beth Katleman, Ian Spencer & Cairn Young of the Yardsale Project, and Gareth Neal. Merrill will also present a new, monumental cabinet by Michael Coffey entitled “Galaxy II”. Todd Merrill Studio Contemporary has been chosen to represent the estate of Jan Yoors and will be exhibiting his important tapestry called “Jungle”. The Belgian-born Yoors (1922-1977) is famous for his textiles, photography and sculpture. Showing the continuum between 20th and 21st century studio artists, the booth will also feature outstanding works by the designers Paul Evans, Gio Ponti, and Dan Johnson.
The back wall of the booth will feature “Folly”, a five meter-long porcelain sculpture by New York-based artist Beth Katleman. “Folly” is a three-dimensional ceramic rendering of traditional Toile de Jouy fabric or wallpaper. On close inspection, the elegant, Chinoiserie-inspired pavilions that comprise the landscape of “Folly” are populated (surprisingly) with kitschy figures from popular culture that tell a dark and poetic fairy tale. The exuberance and refinement of “Folly” are astonishing to behold as it simultaneously blurs the lines between art, design, craft and conceptual installations.
Furniture designer Gareth Neal, who is based in London, also draws inspiration from the silhouettes of Rococo style: his furniture undergoes a process of chipping away an exterior form to reveal an interior shape that is reminiscent of French furniture of the 18th century. Using sophisticated techniques including CNC and CAD, Neal creates works that seem at once antique and thoroughly modern.
The Yardsale Project, the UK-based creative partnership of cabinet-maker Ian Spencer and industrial designer Cairn Young specializes in creating unique pieces of furniture that avoid the clichés of woodworking. Spencer and Young frequently choose woods with drastically different hues to create a patchwork effect. They also design chairs that are sculptural and asymmetrical, setting them apart from thousands of years of traditional design.
Jan Yoors was born in Antwerp, Belgium to a family of artists and left home at the age of twelve to live with a Gypsy tribe. After World War II, Yoors enrolled in the School of African and Oriental Studies at London University where he was introduced to the art of tapestry, and he began a lifelong study of tapestry techniques, from Aubusson to Samarkand. In 1950 Yoors settled in New York City, where he set up a studio and constructed a 15-foot vertical loom. His wives, Marianne and Annebert joined him in 1951; they were to collaborate with Yoors in the weaving of all his work. Jan would start by creating a full-size design and selected Persian wool dyed to his exact specifications. Using the design as a guide, Marianne, Annebert, and other skilled artisans would weave the tapestry under his supervision. Yoorsʼ work will be the subject of a major retrospective at the FelixArt Museum in Belgium in 2012.
Michael Coffey will debut the most truly monumental piece that he has yet created entitled “Galaxy II.” This huge hand-carved 2.43 x 2.43 meter cabinet in American Black Walnut features six 10.5 cm thick sculpted doors inspired by the natural wear of river rocks. The dimensional aspect of the cabinet is striking especially in the deeply carved and curved corners. Coffey is considered one of the greatest living American studio furniture makers practicing today. His work has appeared regularly at major auction sales for nearly a decade. Coffey’s designs continue to evolve as he enters his eighth decade working with remarkable focus and creativity.
Showing the continuum of studio work between the centuries, Merrill will exhibit several masterworks by Paul Evans (1931-1987) including a chrome Cityscape sofa and club chair. Other Evans works on view are a large sculpted steel studio table and two “Argente” welded aluminum cabinets from the mid-1960s, as well as a sweet two-door sculpted steel console. Evansʼ unique approach to furniture-making, a combination of handcraft and technology, presaged the limited-edition art furniture of today. Evans produced every piece entirely by hand, creating some of the most spectacular furniture of the 20th century. As he described in 1975: “Every piece is supervised every step of the way by the artist who conceived it”.
Merrill will be exhibiting an important piece by Italian designer Gio Ponti (1891-1979), a walnut console circa 1951, made by Girodano Chiesa which has been authenticated by the Gio Ponti archives in Milan. A designer and architect best known for the innovation of the novecento style, which became established in Italy around 1926 as a countermovement to rationalismo, Ponti worked with venerable firms including FontanaArte, Venini and La Pavoni.
The booth will also feature a table and six Gazelle chairs by American designer Dan Johnson made in 1956. The Gazelle line was produced entirely by hand in Italy at Dan Johnson Studio. Fewer than 150 pieces were completed and cast due to the high production costs and intense hand labor involved. Each chair is constructed from hand cast gold colored aluminum with caned backs and seats. The custom table from 1958 has a resin top and a cast bronze base with an applied patina.
Todd Merrill Antiques / 20th Century and Studio Contemporary (www.merrillantiques.com and www.studiocontemporary.com) is known for showing the best of twentieth century and contemporary design. The gallery is located at 65 Bleecker Street, in New York Cityʼs only building by the father of American Modernism, esteemed architect Louis Sullivan. Merrill, a third generation dealer, opened his business in 2000 and quickly became known for a selection of the best of post-war American studio and custom furniture, as well as outstanding European 20th-century furniture and lighting. In November 2008, Rizzoli published Merrillʼs book, Modern Americana: Studio Furniture from High Craft to High Glam, the first definitive book on late 20th Century American studio furniture. The same year Merrill launched Studio Contemporary to represent studio artists producing the best contemporary furniture designs.
For more information please contact Sarah Archer at (212) 673-0531 or email: [email protected]