The MAD Museum finally has its MAD show
Copyright Vladimir Kagan, March 27, 2016
The Kagan team - Chris Eitel, my design director - me - Illya Kagan, my son the artist
“I’m just a guy who can’t say no!” I go to every party. I even fly across the continent when sent tickets. But, for once in my life I passed on an opportunity. This time I really regret not showing up for a book signing for Flemish designer Jobs Smeet and his Dutch partner, Nynke Tynagel of Studio Job, My rational? “Who needs another book for my already overflowing bookshelves?”
Sprawling over two floors of the MAD Museum, (Museum of Art and Design) in New York, just opened a new exhibit for Studio Jobs. These ‘guys’ are at the top of the heap of ‘wacky’; a new genre of designer/artists working on the fringe. They dissect, they ridicule, they question the obvious, the rational and the logic. They spew out an obtuse, gobble of kitsch, and “fringe-art”. Smeet and Tynagel are geniuses of the genre.
In this genre you can count Jeff Koons as the most successful, so is my friend Sebastian Errazuriz and now, with this ‘one-man’ show we have Studio Jobs. It’s the 21st Century version of Memphis. It is high-class camp. The works are magnificently executed.
Stained glass windows, marquetry in precious woods, traditional Belgium cut and tinted glass vessels dominate the exhibit. At first glance, you see heroic tributes to the mundane, but not to be taken seriously, they stick their thumbs at the public and their patrons. The subject matter is as diverse as the imaginations that created them.
When the artists had a romantic break-up, they created a train wreck of painstakingly modeled steam engines colliding head on. A cloud of highly polished bronze smoke is pouring out of the smokestack coalescing into a hammered polished tabletop, juxtaposed to the chaos that created it. The symbolic statement: out their personal chaos comes a darn good business relation that can be successful.
A beautifully sculpted horse’s head with flaring nostrils and color-changing eyes is mounted on a perfect replica of a tank vacuum cleaner, a tribute to Jeff Koons. An illuminated 12 foot high tower, Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world is being climbed by a humongous “King Kong” and circled by propeller driven airplanes. It’s symbolic message is ???? A stained glass window commissioned by a Dutch doctor for his office, depicts the creation of life intermingling with Christian symbolism, a reference to the church opposite the doctor’s office. Syringes, a baby with its umbilical cord being cut, test tubes and dispensing bottles of poison. There is an ordinary garden spigot, four times its normal size ridiculing a modern fountain as it drips droplets of water into a pail. Tynagel and Smeet are precise artists, rendering each concept with meticulous details. Their imagination bursts with ideas for their sculptures. They work in a 20,000 square foot studio with 20 artisans executing their outlandish concepts.
The 'Critic' doing the show!
Every work has a message and a double entendre. It’s a formula for a very complex rational. The show will run through August 21. I thoroughly enjoyed it, I hope you will too.