That Ron Arad never descends into gimmickry says a lot given that some of his work can be cutesily manipulated by text messages. In “Ron Arad: No Discipline” at The Museum of Modern Art, you’re never far from a view of the courtyard and the polycoated chairs scattered about in it that are a reminder that simplicity is where iconization often lies. Where Bertoia turned a few pieces of bent wire into both a meditation on the space-time continuum and a comfortable place to sit, Arad has expanded on both concepts.
Chairs form the bulk of Arad’s oeuvre. Serpentine and inviting, they often look like they could be turned on any side and still function. One particularly dazzling display lies under a chandelier that resembles nothing so much as beakers that swallowed LEDs: Two highly polished but pocked chrome chairs, looking like they’ve been extruded one out of the other, form a futuristic throne room. Arad riffs on many of his chairs, forming the same design out of carbon fiber, resin, compacted cardboard, upholstery and even takes what seems to be one of his favorites – an infinity symbol with its points tweaked upward – and wraps it for a tea cosy effect.
Beyond his chairs, Arad still seems to have a thrill for the common objects that inhabit our everyday lives, whether it’s a turntable system that seems to have survived a concrete bath or a bookcase that can function as an everchanging mural.
Most of the exhibit is encased in or resides in the outside nooks of what looks like a Mobius strip that has broken free of infinity. The structure is formed of chrome and mirror but those reflective surfaces are forced to look inward by a sheath of slinky white fabric that dampens their powers but casts the entire room in an underwater vibe, luminary echoes of his work playing on the walls and ceiling.
Ron Arad is only at MoMa for another week. Visit now or risk never seeing an inverted camera obscura disco ball that looks like it may be spitting prophecy.
“Ron Arad: No Discipline“ through October 19, 2009, at The Museum of Modern Art, New York , NY.