A Picnic Table as Art

An art picnic table in Inwood Hill Park, NYC.

I’m always interested in artwork that references tools or functional objects. This artwork is located in Inwood Hill Park, NYC , and interrogates a common functional object, the wooden picnic table with attached bench seats. An all too common approach when creating an artwork referencing a functional object is to do one of two things; somehow make the object non-functional, or make a replica of the object out of a material that cannot function (such as making a wrench out of clay).  Here, however, the artist considers the history of the wood, so instead knots left in the wood, the branches are left on. The result looks quite tortured, much like the making of this object must have been. It reminds me of W.S. Merwin’s poem, “Unchopping a Tree”.

Some of my other posts on tools and art.

Flowers and Gears

This is without a doubt the most beautiful postcard I have ever seen of spring loaded, anti-backlash spur gears and flowers. I’m guessing it is from the 1940’s?

Lee Lozano and Tools

Hauser & Wirth is currently showing Lee Lozano’s Tools.  There is a slideshow of 24 images on their website. The exhibition ends Febuary 19, and according to the gallery press release-

On January 12, 2011, Hauser & Wirth New York will open the first exhibition ever organized to focus exclusively upon one of the pivotal passages of Lozano’s journey. ‘Lee Lozano Tools’ will bring together a group of important works from 1963 and 1964, paintings and drawings of everyday hardware – exaggerated hammers, razor blades, screwdrivers, and wrenches so anthropomorphized that they appear to be objects in sexualized motion.

Lee Lozano’s turbulent tool paintings and drawings can be understood as critiques of both sexual and art world decorum at a moment when the feminist movement had yet to coalesce and actively question either.