Allan Wexler: Between Art and Design

The mission of my course “Collecting Design: History, Collections, Highlights,” at the New York School of Interior Design, is to educate architects, interior designers, and art collectors in the complex and fascinating territory of collectible design, to personalize taste, to open the window to extraordinary possibilities when blending past and present, and ultimately, to develop critical taste. Opening the fall 2017 edition, this morning’s class was devoted to the intersection of art and design, seeking to examine and define the difference between design created by artists versus that created by architects and designers. There is no better guest speaker to illuminate these issues than my friend Allan Wexler, a NYC-based architect, educator, artist, designer, who began his long and accomplished career with the ambitious quest to become the Andy Warhol of architecture. The majority of his buildings have remained on paper, as he is less concerned with building physical structures than with utilizing architecture to express poetic and political ideas. His newly-published monograph ‘Absurd Thinking: Between Art and Design,’ which was the point of departure for the super inspiring and fascinating talk this morning, documents projects, which mediate the gap between fine and applied art. It is the transformation of everyday objects, which are available and known to us all, IKEA chairs, utensils, buckets, into magical works of art that have come to shape his vision. Thank you, Allan Wexler for enriching our world and for a generous, genuine, and intellectual presentation, demonstrating the power of originality to manifest life and art integrated within one another. All images, courtesy Allan Wexler.

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