Works by Jurgen Bey and Tejo Remy will Involve Community Collaboration
The High Museum of Art has commissioned two major pieces by Dutch artists Jurgen Bey and Tejo Remy to be completed and installed during the spring of 2008. Both artists are associated with the Amsterdam-based Droog Collective, a group that has creatively challenged traditional design concepts for nearly 15 years. These two commissions of serialized works will be the first by each artist in the High’s collection and will have unique ties to the Atlanta community. Bey will create his “Tree Trunk Bench” from a tree recently removed from the Atlanta Botanical Garden, and Remy will repurpose pre-existing drawers donated by individuals in the Atlanta and greater Georgia community.
“These two commissions continue the High’s tradition of bringing great art to the High through global partnerships and, in this case, permanently,” said Michael E. Shapiro, the High’s Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director. “The High’s collection of decorative arts is one of the most renowned in the country, and we are committed to keeping this collection fresh by adding contemporary designs such as these. We also look forward to the community connection brought about by the two projects and to introducing new visitors to the collections through their involvement.”
Jurgen Bey: “Tree Trunk Bench”
Artist Jurgen Bey creates provocative, socially aware designs that often involve collaboration with the owner or commissioner. The High’s commission of a “Tree Trunk Bench” will incorporate a tree from a section of the Atlanta Botanical Garden currently being cleared for the construction of their green expansion plan including a new LEED certified visitor center, canopy walk, gardens and parking facility. Choosing a tree from this site allows the High to recycle a part of the landscaping slated for removal. The selected tree is a mockernut hickory, a species commonly found in the Eastern United States. Arborguard, a tree care and preservation firm based in Atlanta, has provided services to treat the tree, cut it down, and transport it to the Museum. For this commission, Bey will also create custom-made chair backs that he will install on the trunk to create a bench.
Born in 1965, Jurgen Bey entered the international design arena in the 1990s. An independent designer in Rotterdam, Bey previously collaborated with designer Jan Konings under the name Konings & Bey. He designs for public spaces, interiors and applied art. Analyzing relationships between content and form, his designs encourage interaction between viewer and object. Bey also teaches at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, Netherlands. For more information, visit www.jurgenbey.nl.
Tejo Remy: “Chest of Drawers”
Tejo Remy began designing lively recycled chests of drawers in 1991. They feature mismatched drawers built into customized matching casings, stacked in an apparently indiscriminate way. These individual pieces are then bundled together with a furniture mover’s strap. For the High’s commission, the Museum will hold a statewide call for submissions of drawers from any type of furniture. Participants will be asked to submit a photo of their proposed submission, along with its dimensions and a motivational statement. Remy will then select drawers for the commissioned piece, which he will create in Atlanta. More information about drawer submissions is available online at www.high.org/drawerproject.
Born in 1960, Tejo Remy works as an independent interior and product designer in Utrecht, often in collaboration with Rene Veenhuizen. By approaching the traditional with an innovative and conceptual eye, Remy brings contemporary style to discarded objects and forces the individual to interact differently with the finished product. He has been commissioned by gallery W 139, Museum Boymans van Beuningen, and VROM, the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment. Additionally, Remy teaches at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht, Netherlands. For more information, visit www.remyveenhuizen.nl.
“These commissions are relevant to today’s climate for many reasons,” said the High’s Decorative Arts curator, Ronald T. Labaco. “The conceptualization of both pieces heralded an era of socially aware design almost twenty years ago, but the issues of environmental conservation that they address continue to resonate. With the growing international concern about global warming, green design and manufacture are becoming important issues. When these pieces were first introduced, their apocalyptic overtones expressed a sense of foreboding about Y2K and the turn of the millennium, but in today’s context they provide a positive outlook for the future by putting a playful spin on ecological responsibility. On display at the High, these pieces will not only be engaging and delightful to view, but will also encourage awareness and discussion for years to come.”
Droog Design Collective
The Droog Design Collective sets forth innovative and inspired designs for everyday objects using low-cost, industrial or recycled materials. Established in the Netherlands in 1993 by designer Gijs Bakker and art historian Renny Ramakers, Droog was conceived as a platform for contemporary Dutch design. However, Droog soon expanded its scope to embrace the work of an international network of contemporary designers. The Dutch word for “dry,” as in “dry wit,” and unadorned or simple, “droog” refers both to the wry sense of humor that characterizes the designs and to the practicality and simplicity of their objects.
Droog aims to stimulate creation, innovation and debate. Product development and distribution are crucial parts of the collective’s activities. Other efforts include education and publication, traveling exhibitions and the organization of meetings and events. For more information, visit www.droogdesign.nl.