Against the Grain

Willie Cole, Sebastian Errazuriz, Sarah Oppenheimer, Lowery Stokes Sims, Ursula Von Rydingsvard

Against the Grain Willie Cole, Sebastian Errazuriz, Sarah Oppenheimer, Lowery Stokes Sims, Ursula Von Rydingsvard | Events Calendar


New York Public Library | Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

FREE - Auditorium doors open at 5:30 p.m.

This event is held in conjunction with the exhibition Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft and Design, currently on view at the Museum of Arts and Design through September 15, 2013. The participants include designer Sebastian Errazuriz and sculptors Willie Cole, Sarah Oppenheimer and Ursula Von Rydingsvard whose work appears in the exhibition. The discussion is moderated by Lowery Stokes Sims curator of Against the Grain.

Focusing on some of the most interesting conceptual technical trends in woodworking today, Against the Grain (The Monacelli Press 2012) includes approximately 65 vessels, sculptures, furniture, and installations, created since 2000, which provocatively defy categories and celebrate the visual dynamics of wood. The book demonstrates how contemporary creators have engaged the medium of wood in strategies that might be described as “postmodern,” employing mimicry, assemblage, virtuosity, and whimsy (with a serious purpose). Environmental issues are also prominently addressed. Artists represented include Derek Bencomo, Gary Carsley, Hunt Clark, Piet Hein Eek, David Ellsworth, Sebastian Errazuriz, Bud Latven, Mark Lindquist, Thomas Loeser, Sarah Oppenheimer, William Pope.L, Martin Puryear, Marc Andre Robinson, Laurel Roth, Betye Saar, Courtney Smith, Elisa Strozyk, Alison Elizabeth Taylor, and Ursula von Rydingsvard.

Copies of the book are available for purchase and signing after audience Q&A.

Willie Cole was born in 1955 in Somerville, New Jersey. He earned a BFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, in 1976 and went on to study at the Art Students League (1976–79). During his childhood, he was especially influenced by the women in his family and was later inspired to create works from broken household items, such as the steam iron, transforming them into sculptures, installations, and prints that serve as mirrors of the urban African American experience. Cole has been awarded a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant (1995), Joan Mitchell Foundation grant (1996), and Augustus Saint-Gaudens Memorial Fellowship (2002), and he held an artist residency in 2000 at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center Arts/Industry Program in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Cole’s many solo exhibitions include those at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York (2001), Museum of Modern Art, New York (1998), University of Wyoming Art Museum (2004), and Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey (2006). In 2006 the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, awarded him the David C. Driskell Prize which recognizes individuals who make important contributions to the field of African American art. Cole currently lives and works in New Jersey.

Sebastian Errazuriz was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1977, but his family moved to London where he spent his childhood. His education took him around the world to art courses in Washington, design courses in Santiago, and film courses in Edinburgh, Scotland. Errazuriz earned his MFA from New York University. At the age of twenty eight, he became the only second living South American artist to have work auctioned at Sotheby’s. Currently based in New York, Errazuriz has offices and workshops in Santiago, working on projects ranging from sculptures and public commissions, to consumer objects, furniture, and fashion. His work has been included in numerous exhibitions in Tokyo, New York, Paris, and Barcelona.

Sarah Oppenheimer was born in Austin, Texas, in 1972 and received a BA in semiotics in 1995 from Brown University as well as an MFA from Yale University in 1999. Oppenheimer is currently a critic at the Yale University School of Art. She creates social experiments in her videos and architectural installations exploring the ways individuals navigate constructed space. Oppenheimer has received numerous grants and awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2007), a Rome Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome (2010-11), and a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors grant (2011). Her many solo exhibitions include those at the Drawing Center in New York (2002), the Saint Louis Art Museum (2008), Annely Juda Fine Art, London (2009), and the Baltimore Art Museum (2012). Her work has also been seen in numerous group shows around the globe, at venues in the United States, England, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, and Japan.

Ursula Von Rydingsvard was born in Germany in 1942 where her upbringing was deeply affected by World War II. After the war, her family moved between refugee camps for displaced Poles until they eventually settled in the United States in 1950. She received a BA from the University of Miami, Coral Gables (1965), and an MFA from Columbia University (1975). Von Rydingsvard is best known for creating large-scale, often monumental sculpture from cedar beams, which she cuts, assembles, and laminates, finally rubbing powdered graphite into the work’s textured, faceted surfaces. Von Rydingsvard’s sculptures are included in numerous permanent collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum; Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. She is the recipient of two individual grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and three awards from the American International Critics Association. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2008 and was recently awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture. She has been working in Brooklyn, New York, since 1982.

Lowery Stokes Sims is a curator at the Museum of Arts and Design. A specialist in modern and contemporary art Sims is known for her particular expertise in the work of African, Latino, Native and Asian American artists. She worked as an educator and curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1972-1999 where she organized over 30 exhibitions. Sims then served as executive director, president and adjunct curator for the permanent collection at The Studio Museum in Harlem from 2000-2007. At MAD Sims has co-curated Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary (2008) and Dead or Alive: Artists Respond to Nature (2010). She also conceived and co-curated The Global Africa Project (2010-11) and curated the upcoming exhibition Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft and Design which will open at MAD in 2013. She was Visiting Professor at Queens College and Hunter College in New York City (2005, 2006), a fellow at the Clark Art Institute and Visiting Scholar in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota in 2007. Sims also served on the selection jury for the World Trade Center memorial in 2003-2004 and is past president of ArtTable, Inc., and serves on the boards of the Tiffany Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation and Art Matters, Inc.

Conceived and organized by Arezoo Moseni and in its third year, Design and Style is a series of events featuring discussions and presentations by leading professionals in the various design fields.