Recently I had been scrolling through Instagram and museum websites trying to see if there were any new exhibitions up that might catch my eye. Lo and behold, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pa has a new exhibition titled “Extraordinary Ordinary Things.” It’s a really fascinating and interesting exhibit highlighting the decorative arts and functional design. It features what we might think of as ordinary objects such as chairs, benches, tables, light fixtures, and various decorative objects, on a much more extraordinary level of design and creativity.
The exhibit has over 300 objects in it but I thought I would highlight and show a few that stood out to me and what I found really interesting. The first was Tanya Aguiñiga’s Folding chair. Immediately looking at this piece we recognize a folding chair that we’ve all seen before. But what’s so interesting about it is that it is hand felted with this beautiful bright magenta colored felt. It fits this exhibition really well, taking such an ordinary recognizable object and making it into something so different and bold.
Another piece that I really liked was the Endgrain bench from Raw-Edges. This piece used two types of wood, jelutong timber and southern yellow pine, both of which are vascular trees meaning a liquid such as dye could easily and completely soak through the wood. It created these fully dyed blocks of wood, in rainbow-like colors, that created this beautiful, detailed, and intricately designed bench.
Jay Sae Jung Oh’s Black Edition sofa, from the Savage Series, is one piece that struck me more than the others. Here we have this black sofa made from plastic and leather cord that’s very strong, bold, and almost uninviting. I find this most interesting because being that it’s a sofa, obviously meant for sitting on, it seems so dark and uninviting. I like that idea of contrast and conflict in such an unexpected way with this unusual object.
I find this exhibition really cool and I encourage you to check out the other pieces that are included. It’s such an interesting take on ordinary and recognizable objects that we normally wouldn’t think too much of, yet when someone adds a whole other layer of creativity and design, they really draw us in as something completely new and different.
Hope you have a great week:)