RIDGEFIELD, CONN.- The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
announces Wendell Castle: Wandering FormsWorks from 19591979, the first major museum exhibition of the iconic American designers work in over twenty years, and the only one to focus exclusively on the period when he defined his inimitable style of ground-breaking sculptural furniture.
Curated by Evan Snyderman and Alyson Baker and designed by Cooper Joseph Studio, the exhibition will open to the public on Saturday, October 20, 2012, and remain on view through February 20, 2013. It will coincide with Castles eightieth birthday and be accompanied by an illustrated monograph co-published by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and Gregory R. Miller & Co., featuring texts by Alastair Gordon and Evan Snyderman and designed by Pandiscio Co.
The handmade pieces created by Wendell Castle in Rochester, New York, helped shape the American studio furniture movement throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and he remains one of the most important American furniture makers working today. Castles exploration of form and function blurred the boundaries between art, craft, and design, forever changing the way we look at furniture. Wandering Forms will survey his early works in wood and fiberglass, along with related archival materials. The exhibition will consist of more than 35 objects, including a variety of furniture forms from chairs to tables to lighting; approximately 50 drawings from Castles archives; and a selection of ephemera ranging from the artists oversized scrapbooks to video clips from his 1966 appearance on the popular TV program, To Tell the Truth.
Many items from renowned private collections, which have not been seen by the public in decades, will be presented alongside works from institutions such as the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, New York; and Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin.
Snyderman explains, During this period, Wendell Castle produced some of the most dynamic work of his career. His artistic output was both prolific and exceptionally innovative, leaving an indelible imprint on the worlds of art and design. During this time, Castle was awarded three National Endowment for the Arts grants, secured a prestigious teaching position, and mounted over fifty exhibitions at major institutions. Baker adds, This survey provides a unique opportunity to highlight the convergence of artistic disciplines in Wendell Castles work. He has had a profound impact on generations of artists, designers, and artisans, and we are thrilled to present his work at The Aldrich in celebration of his contribution to twentieth century art and design.
Wendell Castle: The iconic wood and fiberglass masterpieces of American designer/craftsman Wendell Castle (b. 1932) are recognized for superb craftsmanship and whimsically organic forms, while he is renowned for developing original techniques for shaping solid, stack-laminated wood. Castle was born in Kansas and received a BFA from the University of Kansas in Industrial Design and an MFA in sculpture, graduating in 1961. He moved to Rochester, New York, in 1962 to teach at the Rochester Institute of Technologys School for American Craftsmen as an associate professor of furniture design and in the late 1960s established his studio in Scottsville, New York.
Castles numerous accolades include a 1994 Visionaries of the American Craft Movement award sponsored by the American Craft Museum and a 1997 Gold Medal from the American Craft Council. In 2007 he received the Modernism Lifetime Achievement Award from the Brooklyn Museum. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, among others. His work is included in many museum collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; The Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Detroit Art Institute.