New York is about to get a lot more crowded this week with the best of the art and design worlds converging for the kick-off of its second NYCxDesign. The ambitious umbrella title aims to bring together the month's multiple art and design events. Ranging from the homegrown Collective Design Fair, to the imported Frieze Art Fair and the stalwart International Contemporary Furniture Fair, with lots more in between, this year's happenings are set to be the most vibrant and cohesive.
First out of the gates is the Collective 2 Design Fair (8-11 May), an elegant showcase of 20th century and contemporary design, which debuted last year. Featuring a curated selection of design galleries from around the world, the fair's second edition is more fully-formed, with participants from further afield. The fair's founder, Steven Learner, said, 'One of our goals this year was to expand our reach internationally, and we have with new and returning galleries from Brussels, Lebanon, London, Mexico City, Oslo and Stockholm.'
To this end, the fair comprises 36 exhibitors, including Seoul's Gallery Seomi, Beirut's Carwan Gallery, Chicago's Volume Gallery, Brussels' Victor Hunt and Cologne's Ammann Gallery - an enticing mix of new and recognisable names. With objects ranging from early 20th century Scandinavian antiques and a showcase dedicated entirely to Carl Aubock, to a new series of marble furniture by Tomás Alonso and child-friendly, vintage design offerings from Kinder Modern, the fair is inspiring to say the least.
Last year, Collective 1 set itself apart by embracing a unique venue, the Lot-Ek designed Super Pier located on the waterfront edge of Chelsea. This year, the fair moved to Skylight at Moynihan Station, a sprawling space (and a firm fashion show favourite) located within the iconic James A. Farley Post Office in Midtown West. Learner, who is also an architect, said, 'We found that people responded to the installation of design in a surprising venue, so this year are once again in a great surprising space.'
In addition to the galleries' exhibitions, other things to look out for at Collective 2 include a capsule show devoted to Scandinavian design curated by ex-V&A, now MAD director Glenn Adamson; Collective Settings, a series of installations that sees an exhibitor work with a designer of their choice to create an inhabitable surrounding for their objects; and a special survey of Hella Jongerius' works. Curated by Murray Moss and Frank Getchell, the Jongerius pieces shown are primarily made up of their personal collections.
In drawing a link between the designer and Collective, Moss explained, 'I was stimulated by Steven Lerner's vision of bringing together seemingly disparate galleries in a way that encourages the visitor to discover real connections.' For over twenty years, Hella has worked in what might be considered 'collectives'. Moss continues, 'In partnering with an ever-expanding circle of individuals and manufactories, she has brought them together in an unparalleled "commune" - a "Hella Kabutz" - where ancient and avant-garde, handmade and laser-cut, familiar and foreign, all become part of a vast quilt of sublime beauty and intelligence - her work.'
The showcase includes over 80 pieces, some of which are on loan from Michael Maharam, Rolf Fehlbaum, Vitra and other collectors, that touch on key movements in Jongerius' career. Moss was keen not to show everything though. 'We are presenting fragments of collections she has done over the past 15 years, drawn from both studio and industrial projects,' he explains. 'We did not want to do a timeline retrospective. As Hella wrote to me, "This exhibition is about loose ends. Loose ends contain a space for the imagination of the viewer."'