R & Company’s latest exhibition, (dec)curation by designer Steven Volpe explores the concept of curated decoration through arrangements of objects and furnishings from the New York gallery’s comprehensive collection of iconic historical and contemporary works. Volpe takes on a guest editor-like role, re-imagining R & Company’s museum-quality trove of design with the sensitivity of a historian and the zeal of a modernist.
"My goal with this show is to demonstrate how historical furniture can be interpreted and mixed freely with contemporary design, showing it in a fresh way for the 21st century,” said Volpe. “We look to reevaluate what it means to live now, and to expand the definition of what a house could be.”
In his San Francisco-based practice, Volpe approaches design, art and architectural space with careful consideration. He refers to them as the “trifecta,” and believes that the basis of good interior design is derived from balanced attention to those three elements.
The concept of (dec)curation references Volpe’s inventive approach to transforming sources. With a wealth of knowledge about the history of decoration to draw from, he reinterprets classical techniques, adding a modern twist to well-known and loved furniture pieces. The exhibition re-contextualizes works such as classic Brazilian seating by Joaquim Tenreiro from R & Company’s collection by recovering pieces in a modern bespoke fabric.
Another aspect to the exhibition is Volpe’s approach to the built environment. For the show, he radically alters the R & Company space by adding subtle architectural interventions and hanging a series of art pieces by artist Jeff Zimmerman from the ceilings and walls throughout the gallery. Through so doing he introduces an element of surprise and subverts assumptions as to what a home can be, blurring the boundaries between, and giving equal weight to art, furniture and the built environment.
“Possessing extensive knowledge and connoisseurship in furniture design and contemporary art has allowed Volpe to bring depth to his interiors,” said Evan Snyderman, Co-founder of R & Company. “It is something rarely seen and the immediate response is the sense of decades of collecting.”
R & Company (formerly R 20th Century) is a gallery committed to historic and contemporary design exhibition and education. Founded by Zesty Meyers and Snyderman in 1997, it presents exhibitions and publications of both historic significance and emerging talent.
The exhibition is now on view through October 18 in New York City. Designers are invited located at 82 Franklin Street. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.