This weekend, the Salon of Art + Design descended on the Park Avenue Armory with a blitz of contemporary and historic design courtesy of 50 top galleries from around the world. From midcentury modern to priceless Italian baubles, the fair’s selection spanned 19th century to present day, and attracted top tier mega-collectors and downtown insiders alike.
A stand-alone exhibit of Maison Giampiero Bodino in the Armory antechamber greeted guests with an exclusive exhibition of museum-quality, high Italian jewels. The jewel box-like vernissage featured a 50-piece collection by Gianni Bulgari-trained high jeweler Giampiero Bodino, the longtime creative director at Richemont who founded his eponymous house in 2013.
Inside the main hall, ranks of domestic and international dealers held court with a mix of statement pieces and functional design. Standouts included R and Company‘s pouty lips sofa by midcentury radical Italian designers Studio 65, part of the gallery’s current “Super Design” exhibit, which represents 15 years of collection by cofounder Evan Snyderman in concert with Milan-based it-curator Maria Cristina Didero. “Since 2002, Evan has traveled back and forth to Italy interviewing protagonists of the Italian radical design movement,” R and Company’s Gabrielle Picone tells us.
Blurring the line between old and new were the Technicolor, neoclassical vases by UK-based sculptor Michael Eden, who transitioned to 3D printing after 25 years as a traditional potter. Inspired by large-scale, Romanesque earthenware by 18th century potter Josiah Wedgwood, Eden prints his urns to follow the golden ratio, math’s standard equation for beauty. And while the underlying principles may be lofty, the vases’ decorations aren’t: instead of mythological figures, Eden adorns them with tableaus taken from pop culture. “One is a ballroom dancing scene from Strictly Come Dancing, the UK version of Dancing With the Stars, and the other is a still from X Factor,” says Eden.
High concept as Eden’s creations may be, his artist’s statement is one that could be applied to any art fair in 2017: “What I like to do is create objects that are culturally familiar,” he says, “and to provoke a discussion about what craft is in the 21st century.”