Stephen Burks: Man Made

published in: Design, Exhibitions By Stefania Vourazeri, 10 April 2011

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Collages created by Stephen Burks

In an age of mass production, Stephen Burks’ exhibition Man Made presented in The Studio Museum in Harlem, in New York is a welcome distraction, which makes us reconsider both the conceptual and the aesthetical value of a handmade object, or design product.
The exhibition is inspired by Burks collaboration with Senegalese basket weavers based in New York and Dakar as well as projects with artisans in South Africa, Peru and India. Basket weaving technique will be applied in a number of different objects, from tables and lamps to chairs.

Basket Pendant Lamps, 2010
Photo: Daniel Håkansson for Readymade Projects

The Studio Museum in Harlem, which was found in 1968, is a contemporary art museum that focuses on the work of artists of African descent locally, nationally and globally. This exhibition places back on the map, the art of a handmade object and reaffirms the significance of traditional ways of designing functional and beautiful products.

Prototypes & Material Compositions (Pile Up) Including Basket Lamps and Basket Low Tables, 2010
Photo:  Daniel Håkansson for Readymade Projects

Portrait of Stephen Burks
Photo: Kevin Kunstadt and Andrew Kenney

''Stephen Burks: Man Made'', Burks’s first solo museum exhibition, will be a true revelation to everyone as the Museum galleries will be transformed into a workshop where weavers and artisans will create a series of functional and experimental objects and installations conceived by Burks. Materials such as sweetgrass, cloth and paper will be used to create these objects whose vibrant eye-catching colors and stunning details will impress everyone irrespectively of being a design lover or not!

Weaving Hands, 2011

Collages created by Stephen Burks showing images of his work and some inspirations for Man Made.
Will appear in the “Collage” section of the Man Made book, a unique publication composed of five parts—Text, Collage, Sketch, Essay and Image—bound in assorted orders and to be read in any sequence the reader chooses.

Basket Chair, 2011

The use of natural and industrial materials such as Tyvek and polypropylene is one of the most important elements of the exhibition. This combination of materials shows in a way that the traditional or the natural can be successfully merged with the industrial.

Collages created by Stephen Burks

In the same way, it shows, that the craftsmanship of these people could be used in industrial design in a very impressive way! Handmade objects translated into contemporary forms, which are tied to the culture of the people who create them and to Burks who conceives them, explore and present to the wide public the talent and the impressive skills of these cultures.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a new monograph designed by Burks and Studio Lin and will follow several of his recent projects. Photographic and video documentation of his travels will also be presented along with his own drawings and prototypes! Don’t miss it!

Untitled (HDPE Lamp), 2011
Photo: Kevin Kunstadt and Andrew Kenney

Material Composition 3 (Crown), 2011
Photo: Kevin Kunstadt and Andrew Kenney

Stephen Burks Man Made
The Studio Museum in Harlem
March 31—June 26, 2011

Collages created by Stephen Burks


Studio Museum in Harlem

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