Ron Arad’s “Fishes & Crows, 1985-1994” at Friedman Benda, New York | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Ron Arad’s “Fishes & Crows, 1985-1994” at Friedman Benda, New York

“Wild Crow,” 1990, by Ron Arad (1951, Tel Aviv), Mirror-polished stainless steel, patinated mild steel, 63 x 45 x 27.25 inches, Two examples exist, Friedman Benda
(Courtesy: Friedman Benda )

At its New York venue, Friedman Benda will host a survey of the pioneering early work of Ron Arad in the exhibition titled “Fishes & Crows” examining the critical period of his career between 1985 and 1994, and presents rarely seen works from this time, including early prototypes.

The decade of 1985-1994 was marked by constant experimentation, motivated by a profound questioning of the status quo for Ron Arad. This decade led him to develop some of the most iconic works of late twentieth-century design. In 1981, Arad founded his Covent Garden studio “One Off,” which quickly became legendary for its look and energy, equal parts construction and deconstruction. His first works there were Duchampian experiments, made with found industrial fittings like Kee Klamps and discarded Rover seats. These paved the way toward more freely sculpted explorations in welded sheet steel: collisions of raw materials, industrial methods, and complex abstraction that immediately suggested a connection to the British punk scene and cemented his underground status.

During the formative years of Arad machine tooling was associated with modernist mass production leading him to shun it completely and instead he adopted lower-tech and immediate methods. He coaxed remarkably expressive volumes out of metal with tools like a hand welder, a metal compactor, or a simple rubber-headed hammer. His Tinker Chairs demonstrate the potency of these direct means: paradoxically smashed into existence, they extended the psychological affect of design into unprecedentedly confrontational territory.

“Arad’s practice was a counterweight to the much more slick and populist Memphis movement, which was emanating from Milan at the same time. Both impulses can be seen as aspects of postmodernism. While direct process served as Arad’s primary inspiration, the playful allusion and subversive humor that one might associate with Memphis were also present in his practice. He sought a degree of accessibility with his witty forms and titles, such as “Looming Lloyd,” “Wild Crow,” or “Italian Fish,”” says the gallery.

From deliberate crudeness to increasing sophistication in Arad’s approach will be tracked in the exhibition “Fishes and Crows”. The exhibition will bring scholarly attention and research to this body of work, one of the most generative of its era in any discipline. In many ways, the design field is just catching up to it now.

The exhibition will be on view from June 21 through July 27, 2018 at Friedman Benda, 515 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001- USA.

For details, visit:

Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.              

Founder: Louise Blouin