on function was curated by Yevgeniya Kaganovich with assistance form Sara Krajewski and included the work of Michael Beitz, David Clarke, Beth Lipman, Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, Noam Toren, and Allan Wexler.
What better way to understand the objects in our lives than to use them, engaging with them physically to do the things they were designed to do? on function brings together six artists whose practices complicate this relationship between the functionality of utilitarian objects and what they mean to us. By inverting our expectations, the works play in the gap between implied and actual use, pushing function away from direct action into the realm of ideas and speculation. In that fluid conceptual space, the objects are freed to evoke the poetic and the imaginative. This exhibition considers function as a discursive adventure replete with rhetorical devices – metaphor, oxymoron, onomatopoeia, hyperbole, and antiphrasis.
At first glance the objects in this exhibition appear surreal: they melt, distort, and mutate. But they are not simply dreamlike, they are much more specific in the way they construct meaning. In these objects, function is not simply a default or a condition, but a point of access for the viewer. It’s a signal and a marker for examining material culture, our relationship to things in our lives, as well as each other. The works in this exhibition require engagement with and consideration of their expected function in order to elicit alternate meanings. Makers represented in this exhibition speculate through and about function, establishing it as a language and a medium, producing unequivocally resonant work.
This exhibition was supported by a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc.
Photography by Joseph Mougel