Friedman Benda presents its annual guest-curated exhibitionInside the Walls: Architects Design, a survey of seminal architect-designed furniture curated by Mark McDonald. With representations spanning over a century, the exhibition will present a broad range of pivotal architects from the US, Latin America, Europe, and Asia—such as Luis Barragán, Lina Bo Bardi, Marcel Breuer, Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson, Oscar Niemeyer, Charlotte Perriand, Warren Platner, Gio Ponti, Ettore Sottsass, Kenzō Tange, and Mies van der Rohe—with a focus on three groundbreaking figures—Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, Rudolph Schindler, and Frank Lloyd Wright, whose global reach continues today.
Drawing on archival photographs of interiors and historical ephemera, this exhibition charts revolutionary developments in architecture and design across the 20th century. Testaments to the innovative use of new technologies born out of post-war scarcity, works such as Charles and Ray Eames’s Storage Unit (ESU) 400 (1950) and Charlotte Perriand’s Bibliotheque ‘Maison du mexique’ (1953) epitomize the ingenious use of materials like the lighter weight Fiberglas, Masonite, bent plywood and tubular steel.
This presentation will be a unique opportunity to analyze the relationship between architectural aesthetic and design ethos on a smaller, more intimate scale and investigate various approaches to reconciling interior and exterior spaces, the commercial versus the residential and the private versus the public sphere.
Examples of furniture originally designed for specific commissions will be juxtaposed with furniture and fittings unrelated to a particular project. At the centerpiece of the exhibition will be the cantilevered exterior light fixtures from Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1914 Francis W. Little House in Wayzata, Minnesota. Exemplary of Wright’s ‘organic architecture’ approach to interior/exterior cohesion, a reproduction of Francis W. Little House’s living room and exterior facades is on permanent display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
For the past four decades, Mark McDonald has been a preeminent dealer of 20th Century modernist design. In 1983, McDonald opened the legendary Fifty/50 Gallery with Mark Isaacson and Ralph Cutler in Greenwich Village with the first-ever Eames retrospective. An avid expert and collector of furniture designed by architects, McDonald has organized landmark exhibitions on furniture design, mid-century studio jewelry, ceramics and lighting as well as served as an advisor for numerous prestigious collectors, artists estates, and museums, including the Vitra Design Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts, The Daphne Farago Jewelry Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Brooklyn Museum. After recently closing his eponymous gallery in Hudson, NY, McDonald currently serves as a private advisor to clients and museums, and maintains an online gallery.