Going MAD

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) had its grand opening this weekend, and your intrepid scientist went to go check it out. When I got there I bought myself a membership sight unseen, not because I had such great faith in the museum, rather I would get to skip the ridiculously long line. It may not be the best reason to get a membership, but support’s support, right?

The space is really very simple, which allows for the art to take center stage. The exhibits are laid out well, so going through the museum is a continuous experience. I can’t fully endorse the architecture as I found it underwhelming. But people don’t go to museums for their architecture, they go for the exhibits. The Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary show is pretty spectacular. Highlights from the show include, spectacle-1020.jpgBook from the Ground by artist Xu Bing, which is a very interesting piece that combines icons and images sourced from advertising, math and science, to form sentences and stories. It harkens back to the early days of written communication that utilized pictographic representation of words and concepts.

Tara Donovan’s work titled Bluffs, repurposes buttons to form a coral-like structures that is haunting and delicate, I felt as if it would fall apart if I looked at it the wrong way. Other works include those from Paul Vilinski, My Back Pages uses his old vinyl records to make butterflies. Having music formed into flying, ephemeral creatures makes a statement on the nature of sound and music itself; one can never really own a sound or piece of music, once you start listening to sound, it immediately fills your surrounding space and then proceeds to fly away. Wow! That last sentence may have been a bit too hippy dippy, even for my tastes. Stuart Haygarth‘s Spectacle, forms 1020 pairs of discarded prescription glasses into a chandelier. This is a clever use of glasses as the light passing through the lenses will have a different character depending on which pair or combination of pairs of specs it passes though.

The use of repurposed materials is clearly the common element that’s carried through the pieces in this exhibition, but it’s the variety of the materials that’s truly astounding. Works used plastic utensils, spools of thread, discarded milk bottles, furniture, shoes, heels and books to name a few. This exhibit captures the transformative aspects of art and design, where common objects can be turned into amazing pieces that are greater than the sum of their parts.

Second Lives is on display until 15 February 2009.

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About Dapper Alchemist

The Dapper Alchemist is an amalgam of my interests in science, design and (men's) fashion.

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