Organized by the Museum of Art & Design (MAD) in New York, Studio Job MAD HOUSE is the first American solo exhibition of Studio Job.
Taking up two floors of the Museum, the design duo have delved into their studio’s 16 year history to populate the spaces with a wide selection of their work ranging from sculpture and drawings to furniture and lamps. Truth is that not even such big place is enough for so many art pieces the Dutch duo has in the portfolio.
Characterized by rich ornamentation, exquisite materials and exacting hand-craftsmanship, and laden with cultural and historical references, the exhibition feels like a fictional art patron’s eclectic collection which, despite its flamboyance, doesn’t take itself too seriously.
“What we’ve tried to do from the very beginning and onwards is to stretch the field of design,” said Smeets. “Design can be so expressive; it doesn’t need to be called art.” Rather than laid out in chronological order, the studio’s designs are arranged as they might be found in a home. “We work a lot with icons – things that are fairly common to us – combined with things that crawl into our heads,” said Smeets.
Items are grouped into loose themes. For example, a set of pieces positioned together on the lower floor – a sculpture of King Kong scaling the Burj Khalifa, a heart-shaped stained glass window and a collection of banana-shaped lamps – are all based around love and lust.