The dialogue between function and aesthetic has flourished since the beginnings of human civilization. Early Byzantium saw the creation of the David Plates, ornate and decorative objects that applied the subject matter of wall murals and large painted canvases to serving vessels. The implications are rich in irony.
Since her creation of A-Z Administrative Services, a facetious corporation serving as a production company for her work, artist Andrea Zittel has falsified the alleged conflict between form and function. Applying sustainable processes to the traditional corporate model, she employs artisans to produce modernist-looking rugs and ponchos from simple sets of instructions. Her work also includes paintings, drawings, living environments, and performances. As an artist she operates in the spaces between design and concept, basic necessity and luxury good.
A selection of Zittel’s blankets and textiles are currently on view at Andrea Rosen Gallery through October 27, marking her tenth solo exhibition at the gallery and her increasingly decisive stature as a pioneer in the area between functional object and artwork.
FROM THE ARTIST
Since the early 1990s I have been fascinated by various ways that we create categories, definitions and rules as a way to generate order and meaning in a seemingly chaotic and often difficult to navigate world. For instance, I find myself analyzing the subtle distinctions or social roles that separate fine art from design – while trying to understand what psychological need this separation serves. Or on a more fundamental level, I wonder how we attribute roles such as “table” or “bench” to a horizontal surface on which things can be placed, or “art” to a flat element that is hung on the wall in order to be looked at. My intention is not to collapse these categories and value systems but rather to reveal their overlooked significance and to understand our inherent psychological need to give objects personal and social relevance. —Artist statement
WHERE TO SEE AND BUY
Fluid State Panel is open through October 27 at Andrea Rosen Gallery (527 West 24th St). Zittel’s work has a dedicated room in the Museum of Modern Art’s second floor contemporary galleries, as well as a commission in the window of the 53rd Street entrance. Andrea Zittel: Lay of My Land is available from Prestel Publishing.
Andrea Zittel’s blog
Interview with Stefano Basilico in BOMB Magazine
“Rethinking the World by Cutting it Down to Size,” June 2006 New York Times review