Wendell Castle Remastered will be the first museum exhibition to examine the digitally crafted works of Wendell Castle, acclaimed figure of the American art furniture movement. A master furniture maker, designer, sculptor, and educator, Castle is now in the sixth decade of a prolific career that began in 1958—one that parallels the emergence and growth of the American studio craft movement.
In this solo exhibition, Castle casts a critical eye toward the first decade of his own artistic production by creating a new body of work that revisits his groundbreaking achievements of the 1960s through a contemporary lens. This self-reflective meditation examines a crucial period during which Castle’s sculptural practices came to define his pivotal role as a leader in the field, and set the foundation for his longevity.
Based on a selection of historically significant works chosen by MAD curator Ron Labaco, Castle will produce new works through his latest practice of combining handcraftsmanship—such as carving, rasping, and finishing—with digital technologies—including 3D scanning, 3D modeling, and computer-controlled milling. These new works will be installed in dialogue with the earlier pieces that inspired them.
Today, even though Castle’s approach to furniture making has evolved through his use of these 21st-century digital tools, it remains rooted in handcraftsmanship, and the same imagination that liberated him from the language of traditional joinery, thus enabling him to work in a process more analogous to sculpture. His early innovations include the first use of stack lamination in furniture, the creation of volumetric forms with a sculptural presence in the round, a vocabulary of softly organic shapes, and the invention of new furniture hybrids. Wendell Castle Remastered will explore Castle’s increased capacity to address these themes in different ways that are now made possible through computer-mediated technologies.
Wendell Castle Remastered is organized by MAD’s Marcia Docter Senior Curator Ronald T. Labaco and Samantha De Tillio, Curatorial Assistant and Project Manager. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated, full-color catalogue published by the Museum of Arts and Design and The Artist Book Foundation.
Support for Wendell Castle Remastered is provided by Friedman Benda, Autodesk, the Anne and Ronald Abramson Family Foundation, Ann F. Kaplan and Robert Fippinger, Susan Steinhauser and Dan Greenberg, the Margaret and Daniel Loeb - Third Point Foundation, Jane and Leonard Korman, Fleur Bresler, Anita and Ronald Wornick, Diane and Marc A. Grainer, George L. Lindemann, and the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester.
The exhibition is also supported by a grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Additional thanks to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the Official Airline of MAD.
Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York, October 7, 2017–December 31, 2017