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July 16, 2009

Objetsmart Summer Edition: Jheri Redding's Hammers


Since I concocted the term objetsmart 2 years ago, my definition of it has changed a number of times. Originally inspired by many years of obsessing over the late 60s Roy Lichtenstein's series of paper plates he created for Bert Stern's concept shop, On 1st, over time, I allowed the definition to meander. I admit: I abused the term to define anything I felt was cool. I justified it by believing that if I created the term, I could define it as I pleased.

But as time has passed, I've actually been able to discover objects that are closer in vein to the original proof of an objetsmart: a useful tactile object that when engaged, even in 1 time use, transforms into another, often useless object. Just think of it as a high-art glow stick.

Lichtenstein plate in point: it's a paper plate. Study it in all its graphic splendor, perhaps even frame it, but god forbid you actually use it as a paper plate! It's a real-life Lichenstein. But really, it's just a paper plate. In an era before mass modern art merchandising, the Lichtenstein paper plate was a strange and funny object to own, because it wasn't thought of as disposable. Everytime I look at my friend's one, I imagine him telling me, "I couldn't afford a painting, but I did manage to get a paper plate!"

My other favorite example of an objetsmart is Christian Marclay's glass drumsticks. A gorgeous object. 1 beat only!

Now Jheri Redding has molded hundreds of hammers out of wax. Perfect objects, they're in rainbow shades and on display this summer at the Samuel Freeman gallery. I'm tempted to buy one, just to see how long it can survive life in my house, before I try hanging up some art using it. These hammers are endlessly fun to contemplate and at the end of the day, what more can you ask for in an object of art?