Absurd Thinking: Between Art and DesignAllan Wexler
AuthorSean Anderson, Patricia Phillips, and Michele Calzavara
EditorLars Müller Publishers, 2017
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Absurd Thinking: Between Art and Design is a survey of work by the architect-artist Allan Wexler. The book features projects developed across the artist's forty-five-year career that mediate the gap between fine and applied art using the mediums of architecture, sculpture, photography, painting, and drawing. Wexler's production can be broadly described as tactile poetry that is composed by re-framing the ordinary with intent to sustain a narrative about landscape, nature, and the built environment that highlights the intriguing and surprising characteristics latent in the elements and rituals, which pervade daily life. Wexler's work is sometimes functional—tangible and tactical—sometimes theoretical, and often a hybrid of the two. In all cases, it demonstrates a commitment to re-evaluating basic assumptions about the human relationship to the built and natural environments. Organized thematically across four categories—Public Places, Private Space, Landscape, and Abstraction—Absurd Thinking is a richly illustrated cross-section of Wexler's multi-scalar, multi-media work featuring his own writings, narratives, and reflections and critical contributions by Patricia Phillips, dean of Graduate Studies, Rhode Island School of Design, and Sean Anderson, associate curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Wexler's compelling thought processes unfold across each thematic category revealing a curious, comedic, analytical mind certain to instigate creative thought among designers and artists, and offer new strategies for examining the inhabited environment.
Allan Wexler has worked in the fields of architecture, design, and fine art for forty-five years. He is represented by the Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York City and has exhibited, taught, and lectured internationally. Wexler currently teaches at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Wexler is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2016), is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and a winner of both a Chrysler Award for Design Innovation and the Henry J. Leir Prize from the Jewish Museum. He has had numerous national and international solo exhibitions, has lectured on his work internationally, and has been reviewed by major art and architecture publications. The subject of Wexler's work is the built environment. He creates drawings, multimedia objects, images, and installations that alter perceptions of domestic activities. He investigates eating, bathing, sitting, and socializing, and turns these everyday activities into ritual and theater.
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