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Work by Celebrated Designer Wendell Castle at Barry Friedman Ltd.
Wendell Castle, Santa Ana, 2009. Stained mahogany with oil finish, 33 1/2 X 58 5/8 X 30 in., 85.1 X 148.9 X 76.2 cm. Photo: Courtesy Barry Friedman Ltd.
NEW YORK, NY.- Barry Friedman Ltd. will present a solo exhibition of unique work by the celebrated American designer Wendell Castle, on view May 6 through June 26, 2010. The exhibition will open with a reception for the artist on May 6 from 5:00-8:00 pm at Barry Friedman Ltd., 515 West 26th Street, NYC. A fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Robert C. Morgan and an interview with the artist, will accompany the exhibition.

A long record of acclaim, scholarship, and steady acquisition by public institutions gives Wendell Castle's work indelible historic importance. His groundbreaking unification of sculpture and furniture galvanized generations of artists and designers and contributed to the acceptance of design as an art form in its own right. At every stage however, Castle has endeavored to incorporate innovations in materials and design, while deepening and, at times, re-inventing his own sculptural vocabulary. From his iconic Molar Chair (1969) to Faust (2009), Castle's work has often reflected sociological and cultural developments in pop culture, film and music. At the age of 77, Wendell Castle is at the height of his career and creativity. Recently, contemporary works have been acquired by major museums including: the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX); Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institutions (New York, NY); Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, NY); and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, MO).

The exhibition will feature a group of 12 unique, stack-laminated wood chairs. All were created since the critical success of Castle's 2008 exhibition at Barry Friedman, Ltd. With decades of experience as his backdrop, Castle's new work is imbued with an animated optimism. While the organic, curvilinear forms of this new collection link it to many of his past masterworks, there is a confidence and quickness of gesture that suggest a new dimensionality. For example, Ghost Rider, a large attenuated rocking chair, illustrates Castle's ability to intertwine complex technique with bold and graceful lyricism; with the pod-like seat suspended quietly between swooping legs, it is a calm in a storm of motion. The exhibition will also present Castle's first series in polished concrete. These limited editions include Castle's first Concrete Chair which has a fluidity of line that belies its material while re-enforcing that his dedication to design never compromises the inherent function of the piece.

Wendell Castle's work can be found in the permanent collections of more than 40 museums and cultural institutions around the world, including: the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY); Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY); Art Institute of Chicago, (IL); Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington D.C.); Musée des Arts Decoratifs de Montreal (Quebec, Canada); Museum of Art and Design (New York, NY); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, (MA); Nordenfieldske Kunstindustrimiseet (Oslo, Norway); Philadelphia Museum of Art (PA); and the White House (Washington, D.C.).

Castle has been the recipient of many honors and awards, including four National Endowment for the Arts grants, three honorary degrees, a Visionaries of the American Craft Movement Award from the American Craft Museum (1994), the American Craft Council Gold Medal (1997), Master of the Medium Award from The James Renwick Alliance of National Museum of American Art, (1999), and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Brooklyn Museum of Art (2007).

Born in Kansas in 1932, Wendell Castle received a B.F.A. from the University of Kansas in Industrial Design in 1958 and an M.F.A. in sculpture, graduating in 1961. He moved to Rochester, New York to teach at the School of American Craftsmen and established a permanent studio in the area, which is still operating today.

Barry Friedman Ltd | Wendell Castle | Robert C. Morgan |


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