In the Mix
Tile Blush launches The Design Shop, a playfully purposeful pop-up in the Miami Design District
When one thinks of Jeff Koons, one thinks of the (in)famous artist's purposeful use of advertising language in the creation of artworks that mimic and become commodities. Using similar appropriation techniques—however with a more nuanced approach—Miami gallery Tile Blush engineered The Design Shop, a pop-up selling exhibition that adopts, toys with, and overturns the language of retail.
Founded in 2017 as an artist-centric space challenging modes of exhibition, Tile Blush is dedicated to enabling “a broader conversation on the purposes of design, art, and both in relation to each other.” In creating The Design Shop, the gallery’s owners Jonathan Gonzalez and Fernanda Torcida in collaboration with Miami artist-curator GeoVanna Gonzalez (no relation) took to heart the premise that design is in everything, including in the representation of products in retail spaces; interrogating design that is inherent to the often invisible processes and mechanisms of selling. The result is a site-responsive, hybrid exhibition-shop that employs signage, presentation techniques, and the aura of a shopfront to allow art and collectible design to gleefully posture as product, and vice versa.
The Maui Chair by Miami duo We are Nice n’ Easy features a metal and StarBoard structure that holds in place foam pool noodles—a surprisingly comfortable seating material. Minneapolis-based Jonathan Muecke’s CS (Coiled Stool) is industrial carbon fiber rope embedded in resin. Jonathan Gonzalez’s Table Sconces are composed of “sexy” light bulbs protruding from simple aluminum tubes, offered in a range of finishes from bright yellow powder coating to buffed and brushed silver. Also using aluminum tubing, Miami designer Deon Rubi’s benches, tables, and lamps evoke construction aesthetics while bending and shining with infinite elegance. These furniture-objects are off-set by gestural oil-on-canvas paintings by Miami artist Aramis Gutierrez and abstract, form-driven acrylic-on-wood paintings by Miami artist Najja Moon, both of which appear seamlessly “at home” recontextualized as art within a design shop.
The Miami Design District is a mecca for both creativity and shopping that exists side-by-side with delicate nuance. These seemingly un-symbiotic genres are the themes from which The Design Shop begins, brushing against art and retail with irony while also earnestly integrating them together. Furthering Koons’ approach, commodity is used and negated to sublime effect while retaining a soulful, grounded perspective. In doing so, the exhibition questions the status of contemporary art and design as it relates to the consumer. What is precious and why? And, how do artists and designers in Miami get a piece of the proverbial pie? ◆
The Design Shop, presented by Tile Blush, is open to the public in the Miami Design District through March 08, 2021.