Wall Power

Museum curators like to talk about “wall power” — an artwork’s ability to occupy visual space, and hold it. Usually they’re thinking about painting and sculpture when they use the phrase. Functional objects have traditionally been expected to mind their own business, merging harmoniously into an overall interior scheme, not leap across the room to arrest the attention of passersby. But with the erosion of long-held distinctions between art and design, the idea that an object can be useful and have wall power too has become widely accepted. It’s hard to imagine the room in which any of the three works seen here would subside meekly into the background. 
In Chris Schanck’s Bloom, a mirror frame takes on a life of its own, propagating itself in pink organic growths along a gridded yellow armature. Amazone, by Jean-Baptiste Fastrez, is equally animated, taking its inspiration from the muscular coils of an anaconda snake; it first debuted in the designer’s 2019 exhibition Vivarium, in which every object had a similar creaturely aspect. It is fascinating to compare the textures of Schanck’s gleaming foil and Fastrez’s classic mosaic to the winding contours of Jay Sae Jung Oh’s Savage Wall Organizer, which features her signature technique of applied cord. Roiling and surging underneath its topological surface is embedded a whole collection of quasi-recognizable junk. Each of the three works feels almost sentient: hang any of them on a wall and you’ll be living in its space, as much as it is in yours.

DNA is a collaborative essay project, intertwining three gallery programs into a single, generative presentation.