PRINT November 2005



It’s easy to love a Castiglione lamp. Harder, perhaps, to embrace without irony the more tricked-out artifacts of modernism’s schizophrenic dotage. Such Jetsons-era concoctions could scarcely be called “timeless,” but for artist Josiah McElheny that’s precisely their allure. McElheny has repeatedly gravitated toward a class of objects that show both their age and their Age, embodying as they do the often unresolved or inassimilable aesthetic aspirations of their historical milieu. He has taken as his subject not the Bauhaus’s iconic Wagenfeld lamp but that design school’s madcap Metal Party, not the hushed refinement of Mies or Brancusi, but the earnest delirium of Fuller and Noguchi, not Castiglione’s elegant Arco lamp, but Lobmeyr’s 1965 Sputnik-glam chandeliers for the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

This latest project, McElheny’s most ambitious ever, is now on view in “Part Object

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