Back and Forth at Nyehaus

By

Published January 29, 2009

All photos courtesy Nyehaus, New York and Douglas Ljungkvist.

 

 

Rirkrit Tiravanija knows how to relate to people’s gut, generally with such delights as Thai food. Last night the artist had the National Arts Club’s Nyehaus Gallery jumping with his exhibition, Reflection. In the center of the gallery Tiravanija put a mirrored aluminum ping-pong table with a glass net that had artists lined up to play with table tennis luminary Marty Reisman, the 1958 and 1960 U.S. Men’s Singles Champion who hasn’t missed a beat in the past 50 years. “It’s very attractive, very beautiful. It’s an artistic creation,” Reisman said of the table. “For a fun kind of recreational game, it will be fine, but for championship matches, or money matches, I wouldn’t want to bet my last money playing on a table like that.”

Rirkrit’s table was commissioned by The Table and produced by Cumulus Studios as part of a campaign to that is reinvent the recreating practical outdoor objects in a new light (as it were). “I am asking contemporary artists to create functional objects for the outdoors,” Cumulus’ founder, Nathalie Karg, who is a landscape architect, described a garden gnome by Jim Drain, a tire swing fastened with a 24-carat gold chain by Aaron Young, a pool mat that looks like a discarded cardboard box by Richard Hughes, and a table by Liam Gillick.

 

Right: Marty Reisman

 

Behind the ping-pong table were puppet wooden dummy doppelgängers of Rirkrit and his friends Hans Ulrich Obrist, Liam Gillick, Pierre Huyghe, and Phillipe Parreno. The effigies anxiously looked on longingly, while a video showed them being manipulated by a puppeteer. There was also an homage to the lateartist Jack Goldstein on 16-mm film ion a 12-minute loop playing in the back, while Tiravanija’s “Cooking Corner” upstairs resembled a fancy chrome version of your backyard gas stove, with an Ed Ruscha-like painted text hanging on the wall to the right that reads “Of Course In The Future Everything Will Be Chrome.”

On my way out, I ran into Nyehaus founder Tim Nye, who led me into his 1,800 square foot apartment that is also located in the National Arts Club. In an ode to practical art, his living room floor is layered with brightly striped vinyl tape designed by Glasglow artist Jim Lambie. In the corner there’s a large saltwater tank stocked with sharks. More functional than formaldehyde, I’d say.