One Nightstand (Plus a Few More)


“It all started one tipsy night about a year ago with artist Paul Lee, who makes these beautiful sculptures with integrated lightbulbs,” recalls Felix Burrichter about the origins of The Nightstands, an exhibition opening Sunday at Phillips de Pury that grew out of a special feature for the tenth issue of PIN-UP, the bi-annual architectural and design magazine he edits. “I’d jokingly asked him to make a special nightstand for the magazine, and he immediately said yes, under the condition that other artists would join.”

Intrigued by the idea, Burrichter assembled a motley crew of artists, architects and designers “who hadn’t necessarily ever [made a nightstand] before, and whose work was very different from one another.” Michael Stipe turned in a black plastic monolith, one of five that was cast from the space under a cheap plastic chair. Minneapolis design firm RO/LU customized their Ettore Sottsass-inspired plywood stand so it would hold exactly 10 issues of PIN-UP. Jim Drain, meanwhile, used sumi-stained cedar to evoke Mondrian’s 1918 painting, Compostion avec Grille 2. Elsewhere, architect Shawn Maximo went for sex appeal with a wood-framed vitrine lit from within by blue neon and ArandaLasch went all BDSM with a stacking geometric piece held together by gold zippers and black leather. Industrial designer Leon Ransmeier took a more practical route with a wooden cantilever that holds a five-gallon water jug with a pump leading to a bed-height glass.

“I love that each artist/designer/architect lived out their personal fantasy of either what a perfect nightstand is, or should be,” says Burrichter, who doesn’t even own a nightstand (“the room is too narrow”). Though he admits it was too hard for him to pick a favorite, he would say that there will be a “bonus track,” so to speak, in the form of Richard Phillips’ Into the Light nightstand, inspired by the artist’s Into the Darkness painting, which he created for the recent Black Swan exhibition at LA’s Regen Projects. “The painting displays a graphite black space where an aperture in the shape of a swan feather reveals an image of erotic consciousness,” says Phillips, noting his nightstand (only on display at Phillips, not in PIN-UP) inverts that idea with a full-color silkscreen of the same image bent around the front and top of a white powder-coated USM metal modular stand. “The image becomes both a bending physical emblem and an illusory gateway that permits the intermingling of physiognomy and form within the light of an ecstatic subconsciousness.” It’s the stuff (wet) dreams are made of.