Kahn DoAuthor:Abigail Stone
When was the last time you went to an art show where the artist suggested that the objects on display be touched—or even sat on? In the case of Misha Kahn’s show at Friedman Benda, where the works—part art, part sculpture—push the boundaries of both disciplines, interacting with them is part of the experience.
If it’s true that Kahn stumbled into furniture design—as a transfer student, it was suggested that the Rhode Island School of Design’s furniture design department might have spots available—he is a shining example of turning lemons into lemonade. “It’s the easiest way to get sculptures into the home,” he laughs, explaining his thought process. “So few people buy sculpture for domestic spaces, especially ones of this size. These pieces are a lot easier for people to think about taking home. So in that way, they’re kind of friendly.” And, he adds, “I love the human scale of furniture.”
“Creatively, I have a kind of manic shopping energy: I like to try on new materials and processes,” he admits. “But rather than feeling inspired and sated by a new technique, I want more. Each option opens up new combinations. The results go from expansive to endless.” This exploration of mixed medias is evident with the upholstered Bois Brule piece, the stained glass Oniromantic Tendencies sculptue, or th wall-hung weaving Swatching Space Time, created in collaboration with Stephens Tapestry Studio of South Africa. “So much of the drive has always been about how objects get made,” he says. Ranging from carpets to tables to chairs, lamps and objects, the things he creates are not only playful and provocative—maximalism at its most maximal—but also functional. “There’s a lot of “art furniture” that is only tentatively useful,” he says. “That’s not what I’m interested in making.”
Nor is he interested in creating work that can’t be interacted with. “So many of these objects play with touch and are meant to be experienced,” he explains. “Things are hard that look soft, the way that shapes come together or the way that they look from the backside.” Go see, and sit, for yourself at Friedman Benda, 8260 Marmont Ln, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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