Vintage Silver Pairings

The Historical Design Gallery in New York, known for its exhibitions of sculpture and form, will exhibit photography for the first time in its current installation, “Argent: Photography and Objects,” which creates unusual pairings of vintage silver gelatin photography and 20th-century silver objects. The show runs through January 31, 2009, and “makes interesting visual comparisons between objects and photography,” says gallery owner Daniel Morris. “It makes people think in a new way about structure and design.”

The collection took years to amass and frame, according to Morris. The connections between the silver objects (including vases, bowls, coffee pots, candleholders, and spoon warmers) and the photos are abstract, although “they both impart the 20th-century ideal of modern design,” says Morris. Highlighted in the show is a toast rack from 1881 designed by Christopher Dresser (one of Morris’ favorite designers in the collection), which features repeating vertical triangular slats for holding pieces of toast, with a long handle emerging from the middle. The crisscrossing silver rods in the rack correspond with an accompanying 1931 gelatin print of the Eiffel Tower by Ilse Bing, cropped closely to reveal the crisscrossed pattern of the steel beams of the Parisian monument (shown). The installation showcases a mosaic of photographic imagery by Thomas F. Barrow, Man Ray, William Keck, Andre Kertesz, and Imogen Cunningham, among others. Each photograph is complemented by an array of significant silver objects by artists including Christian Dell, Breuhaus de Groot, Michele Oka Doner, Richard Meier, and Marco Zanini. (www.historicaldesign.com)

—Alexandra Foster

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