The Domestic Plane

New Perspectives On Tabletop Art Objects

May 20, 2018, to January 13, 2019

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to present The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects, a meta-group exhibition in five chapters—organized by five curators, including more than seventy artists—that will feature tabletop art objects from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The experience could be likened to theatre, as viewers encounter objects that interact with each other, their audience, their setting, forging relationships to be examined and meanings to be discovered in their adventurous methods of display. The Domestic Plane will be on view at The Aldrich from May 20, 2018 to January 13, 2019.

Objects Like Us includes the work of more than fifty artists, including Robert Arneson, Mary Bauermeister, Genesis Belanger, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Christian Holstad, Tetsumi Kudo, Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, Alice Mackler, Sheila Pepe, Vanessa Safavi, Katy Schimert, Rudy Shepherd, Francis Upritchard, and Nari Ward. This chapter explores the relational behavior of intimately scaled objects that personify or embody a human condition or attribute that transmits a performative potentiality, aura, or beingness. The objects will span nearly sixty years, including works conceived specifically for the exhibition (2017‒18). Artist/curator David Adamo will create a site-specific floor installation comprised of white school chalk laid out in a herringbone pattern to mimic antique parquet; over time the chalk will crack and crumble, tracing the viewers’ movements. The overall experience will underscore the efficacy of the works’ relativity and illuminate the interconnectedness of audience and objects. Objects Like Us is organized by Amy Smith-Stewart, curator at The Aldrich, and David Adamo.

For Kitchen Arrangement, a site-specific commission, Jessi Reaves will create a kitchen with interactive furniture and objects, such as seating, cabinetry, appliances, and lighting. This exhibition will offer an immersive experience that is an expression of the home’s primal epicenter: a social space essential to living and an area full of relational potentiality. Jessi Reaves: Kitchen Arrangement is organized by Amy Smith-Stewart and David Adamo.

On Edge considers the table as territory: its inherent boundaries, and relationship with gravity. Paul Bowen, Melvin Edwards, Michael Rees, Arlene Shechet, Venske & Spänle, and Leslie Wayne will respond to the table’s periphery with new works that reveal the edge as a site where limits are both reinforced and tested, and where safety and danger coexist. On Edge also includes tabletop sculpture by Anthony Caro (1924-2013), with the installation utilizing iconic modernist tables by designers such as Charles and Ray Eames and George Nelson generously provided by Design Within Reach. On Edge is organized by Richard Klein, exhibitions director at The Aldrich.

Organized in the anyone-can-be-a-natural-philosopher spirit of the Age of Enlightenment, Almost Everything On The Table, an installation of epistemological apparatuses conceived by artist Tucker Nichols answers questions propounded by curator Dakin Hart. Exploring the enterprise of curiosity that has produced the most absurd and ennobling understandings of man, this exhibition shows that with the right tools, you can hold infinity in the palm of your hand. Almost Everything On The Table is organized by Dakin Hart, senior curator, The Noguchi Museum.

Seeking questions rather than answers, Handheld will chart artists’, designers’, and makers’ various responses to objects scaled to the hand. This chapter will take a multifarious approach—the hand as means of creation, a formal frame of reference, and for the viewer, a source of both delight and tension as they experience sensual objects in familiar domestic forms, scaled for touch, that can be looked upon but not felt. With exhibition design by Jonathan Muecke, Handheld features work by Alma Allen, Aldo Bakker, Kathy Butterly, David Clarke, Iris Eichenberg, Laura Fischer, Jennifer Lee, Shari Mendelson, Ron Nagle, Kay Sekimachi, Bob Stockdale, Christopher Taylor, Anne Wilson, Thaddeus Wolfe, and Shinya Yamamura. Handheld is organized by Elizabeth Essner, independent curator.

The noted graphic novelist, illustrator, and animator, Richard McGuire, will be contributing an eight-page project to the exhibition publication consisting of sequential grids of 128 small line drawings depicting the interrelationship of a cast of small objects. My Things will bring a non-verbal interlude to the book, suggesting to the reader that common objects are pregnant with meaning and possibilities. McGuire will also be presenting an installation of new objects, The Way There and Back, in the Museum’s Screening Room.