stephen burks: man made at studio museum
 
stephen burks: man made at studio museum stephen burks: man made at studio museum
apr 04, 2011

stephen burks: man made at studio museum

stephen burks: man made studio museum, new york on now through june 26, 2011

‘triple basket lamp’ 2011 senegalese sweetgrass and polyethylene baskets, fluorescent acrylic paint image © kevin kunstadt and andrew kenney

industrial designer stephen burks has his first solo exhibition at the studio museum in harlem furthering his ongoing exploration of the global economy of artisan craft.

raw and recycled materials become clever, functional products based on burks’ collaboration with senegalese basket weavers based in new york and dakar as well as projects with artisans in south africa, peru and india. ‘man made’ starts with the traditional basket-weaving process as its core concept and builds on it with contemporary industrial design. during the exhibition, the museum’s galleries will be transformed into a workshop where new york-based weavers and artisans will create a series of functional and experimental objects and installations conceived by burks.

‘untitled (starburst)’ 2011 senegalese sweetgrass and polyethylene baskets image © kevin kunstadt and andrew kenney

reflecting upon the conditions that shape design in today’s world, is at the heart of burks’ ongoing project to reconsider the status of the hand-made object in an age of mass-production and planned obsolescence. burks is sensitive to the conditions of globalization in that his works respond to how cultural traditions and craft technologies migrate from their birthplace as artisans immigrate around the world. these same forces also bring more and more artisan products to the marketplace, both in their original useful functions and as decorative objects.

‘double basket lamp’ 2011 senegalese sweetgrass and polyethylene baskets image © kevin kunstadt and andrew kenney

‘single basket lamp’ 2011 senegalese sweetgrass and polyethylene basket, fluorescent acrylic paint image © kevin kunstadt and andrew kenney

‘single basket lamp’ 2011 senegalese sweetgrass and polyethylene basket image © kevin kunstadt and andrew kenney

detail of the inside of a lamp image © kevin kunstadt and andrew kenney

the exhibition also includes photographic and video documentation of burks’ travels, his own drawings and prototypes. taking a role as an interactive design exhibition and an active platform for working with a collective of west african artisans whose objects and presence have become a significant part of the harlem community.

an accompanying monograph follows several of his most recent projects and, in conjunction with the exhibition, seeks to provide context and understanding of the designer’s singular vision of making: a vision committed to the expansive notion of design as an authentic basis for the production of culture in a contemporary, global context.

‘untitled (HDPE lamp large)’ 2011 recycled high density polythylene bottles, hot glue image © kevin kunstadt and andrew kenney

image © kevin kunstadt and andrew kenney

‘material composition 3 (crown)’ 2011 bungee cord, glass, hot glue, terra cotta, senegalese sweetgrass and polyethylene basket image © kevin kunstadt and andrew kenney

‘material composition 1 (totem)’ polystyrene, paper, senegalese sweetgrass and polyethylene basket, birch plywood, acrylic paint and oak image © kevin kunstadt and andrew kenney

‘material composition 2 (elephant)’ 2011 glass, ink, polystyrene, nylon rope, senegalese sweetgrass and polyethylene baskets, latex polymer, cardboard and fiberglass image © kevin kunstadt and andrew kenney

‘prototypes and material compositions (pile up) including basket lamps and basket low tables’ 2010 image © daniel håkansson for readymade projects

‘basket chair’ 2011

‘weaving hands’ 2010

images of burks’ process board

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