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Design to Die For 

Wednesday, Jan 14 2009
Young Scandinavian artists rebel against the big yellow-and-blue monolith of IKEA in “Irreverent: Contemporary Nordic Craft Art,” an exhibit that stresses "fun" over "functional." Where the Swedish modernist philosophy emphasizes beauty in utilitarian packages, the artists in “Irreverent” create clothes you can't wear, furniture you can't use, and kitsch. Frida Fjellman, who studied at the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington, churns out chandeliers and landscapes populated by relentlessly whimsical glass animals, including marbled lemurs and frosted squirrels. In what one curator called a "sort of domestic bad dream," Anders Ruhwald fashions melting shelves, a mirror that stares at you, and chairs that could be loved only by Salvador Dali. Eva Hild's white clay sculptures might, at first glance, adhere to a meditative minimalism that's compatible with modernism, but the artist says she's inspired by stress and strain —- the more you look at them, the more they resemble roiling intestines. And then there's Louise Nippierd, whose jewelry threatens to behead its wearer and remove an eye from the person dining next to her. Maybe these artists should open a store to compete with IKEA, dubbed "Ikillya."
Jan. 22-April 12, 2009

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Traci Vogel


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