Elemental design: Gagosian NY celebrates the work of Franz West

The late Austrian sculptor, designer and installation artist Franz West continues to be feted internationally for his pioneering oeuvre, reflecting and encompassing participation, play and design. His work is now being celebrated in a show at New York’s Gagosian Gallery, entitled ‘Franz West: Möbelskulpturen/Furniture Works’.

Brown thin padded sofa
Pictured: Club armchair, 2014, designed in 1998
(Image credit: Marina Faust)

The late Austrian sculptor, designer and installation artist Franz West, who was honoured with the Venice Biennale Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement back in 2011, continues to be feted internationally for his pioneering oeuvre, reflecting and encompassing participation, play and design.

This month, New York's Gagosian Gallery outpost is celebrating his distinctive design with new editions of his works, produced by Franz West Privatstiftung (opens in new tab) in West’s Vienna studio by his staff. But this range of the designer's furniture, initially launched from 1992–2011, is rooted in more than mere functionality.

‘Transcending the entrenched status of art as object for pure contemplation, West designed these furniture works as constituents of sculpture that are as elemental as they are convivial,’ says Ealan Wingate, the Gagosian's New York director.

The works on view include sofas upholstered in raw linen and tables with steel legs encased in cardboard tubing. Nor is West’s work solely marked by spare lines and beige upholstery; there’s a metal coat rack of sinuous pink squiggles and chairs punched up with bold palettes.

High profile museums like Centre Georges Pompidou and the MAXXI in Rome hold examples of West’s design in their permanent collections. ‘True to West's vision, the works have drawn a devoted following of collectors,’ says Wingate. Private collectors include London auctioneer Simon de Pury and Upper East Side/London dealer Dominique Levy, along with Andrew Hall – founder of the Hall Art Foundation (opens in new tab) in Reading, Vermont – and artist Mary Heilmann. ‘Fifteen years ago, Franz and I showed in the same Vienna gallery and I was struck then by his domestic design sensibility while crossing over into serious sculpture,’ says Heilmann. Today, West’s pronounced aesthetic and philosophy remain paramount, embraced by an increasingly wide audience.

Franz West Privatstiftung in West’s Vienna studio

The show comprises new editions of his works, produced by Franz West Privatstiftung in West’s Vienna studio by his staff. Pictured: Divan, 2014, designed in 1991

(Image credit: Marina Faust)

The furniture range

The furniture range, initially launched from 1992–2011, is rooted in more than mere functionality. Pictured: Pouf, 2014, designed in 2000

(Image credit: Marina Faust)

Colorful chairs

Pictured: Artist’s Chair, 2015, designed in 2012

(Image credit: Marina Faust)

High profile museums like Centre Georges Pompidou and the MAXXI in Rome hold examples of West’s design in their permanent collections. ‘True to West’s vision, the works have drawn a devoted following of collectors,’ says Ealan Wingate, the Gagosian’s New York director. 

A sofa

Pictured: Chaise lounge, 2015, designed in 1992

(Image credit: Marina Faust)

The works on view include sofas (and this chaise lounge) upholstered in raw linen and tables with steel legs encased in cardboard tubing.

A table

Pictured: End table, 2015, designed in 2004

(Image credit: Marina Faust)

‘Transcending the entrenched status of art as object for pure contemplation, West designed these furniture works as constituents of sculpture that are as elemental as they are convivial,’ says Wingate. 

INFORMATION

Photography by Marina Faust, courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Copyright Franz West Privatstiftung. ‘Franz West: Möbelskulpturen/Furniture Works’ is on view until 7 November

ADDRESS

Gagosian Gallery (opens in new tab)
976 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10075

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