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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 13, March 28, 2010, Article 24

JOHNNY SWING'S COIN FURNITURE

Kay Olson Freeman forwarded this interesting item about furniture made from coins. She recently saw this exhibit in New York City on artist Johnny Swing. -Editor

Johnny_Swing Nickel Couch
Johnny Swing, Nickel Couch, 2001
Nickels and stainless steel, 80 x 22 x 28 1/2 inches

Knoedler Project Space is pleased to present Johnny Swing, an exhibition of his sculptural furniture. Since completing his studies at Skidmore College and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Johnny Swing (born 1961) has been creating art for over two decades. Although he presently lives and works in Vermont, Swing spent the early years of his career working in New York City’s eclectic East Village in the 1980s. Swing's furniture designs are on view at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton; his Nickel Couch (2001) and Butterfly Chair (2002), works included in Knoedler's exhibition, are in the permanent collection of Storm King Art Center in Mountainville.

Taking common, everyday materials and austerely "repurposing" them, typically in a repetitive patterning, Swing has created unique examples of functional sculpted furniture. His designs have included works made from recycled baby food jars, and leather disks, remnants of Italian leather floor tiles. For his "coin furniture" series, Swing bundles steel rods and swirls them together to create the distinctively sinuous lines and dynamic curves of their armatures. Swing exclusively uses recycled—rather than newlyminted—coins, which he then polishes to a rich patina. His Butterfly Chair is composed of 1,500 welded half-dollars, and Nickel Couch of roughly 7,000 nickels, joined by 35,000 welds.

Swing's contemporary furniture designs have been included in The Chair, a review of the most innovative designs of recent decades. Nickel Couch was recently featured in The New York Times (on November 19, 2009), and in the December 2009 issue of Art & Auction magazine. His Chaise Longue, composed of welded quarters, was included in the Museum of Art and Design's 2008 exhibition, Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary. Nickel Couch featured prominently in a 2008 installation at the American Museum of Finance, on Wall Street, and was recently reviewed by Christopher Mason, for the Times, as the "eye-catching pièce de résistance in Sotheby's auction of designer Robert Isabell's collection of "sublime oddities."

To read the complete article, see: Johnny Swing February 4–March 27, 2010 (www.knoedlergallery.com/project_space/current_exhibition/)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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