5 Chatham Square
New York NY 10038
May 19 – 27 2023
Friday May 19 2023
from 6 – 9PM
Marta and Catalog Sale are pleased to present Make–Do, an exhibition of twenty-four historic and contemporary ad-hoc chairs, held in alignment with NYC×Design. This selection of improvised chair typologies surveys twelve works from Cat log Sale founder Avi Kovacevich’s ebullient collection, placed in dialogue with a dozen works from contemporary practices, each of whom fabricated their entries in response to the following brief:
Make a Chair in Three Days.
Day 1, Identify & Gather Material
Day 2, Design & Plan
Day 3, Craft & Assemble
The proposed schedule emphasizes the primary components of making-do, the verbiage of which suggests the simultaneous expression of Place, Time, and Know-How—the submission to what is at-hand. Kovacevich’s selections, originally sourced from a variety of disparate and delightful venues, revel in spontaneous necessity: a seat of tires assembled by employees at an auto body shop; a swag of worn carpet, suspended over a slatted wood frame, discovered in a rug warehouse—each represents an idiosyncratic respite of a moment off-the-clock.
The effortless intuition of these pieces, and their development from non-active sourcing, is reflected back through a seamless integration with the works produced by the artists invited to participate in this exhibition, all of whom are based in New York City. As a place that often demands ad-hoc living—spatial, financial, infrastructural—of its denizens, the essence of the ‘brief’ is particularly germane, and serves as a reminder that limitation, within reason, can be a deep well from which to draw focus and inspiration.
Shaina Tabak has fabricated her chair from the surplus wood and metal components of a variety of previously-realized projects, developing a seated work that stands with the subtle gravity and metallic brilliance of a medieval sentry. Similarly, the invitation to Chen Chen & Kai Williams to produce a make-do perch coincided with a studio move, providing ample opportunity for the duo to unearth material from past projects (some dating as far back as 2014). Their chair, a jaunty construction of wood, steel, and woven plastic bags, culminates in an asymmetrical, brightly-pigmented structure seemingly on the verge of animation. Sarah Burns—who recently opened her solo show, Prairie’s Edge, at Mart Los Angeles—continues to explore near-extinct furniture typologies with distinct references to Americana, fabricating a slipper chair that foils soft materials, such as pillows and a sheepskin, within more emphatic structures of rope and thickly-hewn slabs of pine.
Each of these twenty-four chairs, regardless of origin, represents deliberate construction. They are reclamations of the throne; vessels for the body and a mirror image of their maker; and bridges over the gap between the made and the crafted, amongst which we may wander and, ultimately, rest.