ARTIST MISHA KAHN'S ANTI-RIGHT-ANGLE EXHIBITION "MIDDEN HEAP" ON DISPLAY AT FRIEDMAN BENDA

December 08, 2017 4:00 PM

Artist Misha Kahn lives in a world free of right angles. Surrounded by a whirly swirly chaos of his own creation, Kahn has forged a path in the art community that isn’t about reaching a destination efficiently. Think the aesthetic and structural opposite of Ikea. His work invites viewers to indulge in visionary play time, as everything from electric neon blobs to warm woven accents make for a space full of contrasting imagination. With an exhibition dedicated to an octopus’ eclectic trash collection, and an apartment featured in New York Magazine that looks like a scene from a Dr. Seuss book, Kahn is a rising creative to watch.  

We caught up with the artist for some insight into both his mind and his latest exhibition entitled Midden Heap, currently showing at Friedman Benda

  

TWELV: Where are you from? And what’s the story behind your infamous anti-right angle design style?

MISHA KAHN: I’m from Duluth, Minnesota. I went to Rhode Island School of Design, and then I went on to New York. It’s kind of hard to pinpoint where my aesthetic comes from. My dad’s side are very driven craftsmen, and he made furniture that had more modern Dutch influence. So there’s probably some childhood rebellion in there somewhere. Through school, I was constantly experimenting with ways to make things more interesting. We get used to seeing the same things over and over again, so to make something interesting, it almost has to be extreme. I’m interested in exploring that territory.

TWELV: Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to depart from the traditional design route? Or was it always your MO?  

MK: It was probably always my MO. I think in school I was always making outlandish things to try and make the environment more fun. And then I took that attitude and persisted. I never wanted it to feel like work. The kind of whimsy you see surrounding my work is me trying to keep it playful and experimental. 

TWELV: After you went to school at RISD and then went on to study in Tel Aviv, you spent some time working with a shoemaker. What was that like?

MK: While I was in Tel Aviv, I ended up getting interested in shoes. I spent a lot of time working with this one shoemaker, and I think it was interesting learning how to make forms in that way. Furniture class is literally rigid, and so I think making something that has structure but that is still soft and has a strange shape– that had an effect on me. 

TWELV: You’ve mentioned that you’re often inspired by objects you’re not sure if you love or hate. Can you expand on that feeling?

MK: If I’m starting a project and I’m really sure I’m going to like the final product, I feel like there is no reason to make it. If the outcome feels certain, there’s no mystery or surprise. Anytime an aesthetic comes from a place that makes me uncomfortable or feels like a challenge, it feels so much more engaging. I’m constantly choosing elements that exist in that landscape. It’s fun to see if you can get something that feels cheesy at first to a place where you actually start to like it. 

In the last show there were lots of elements of stained glass that really resonated with me in a pure way. There’s something so dowdy and dated about it, that it just drew me in like an artistic challenge to try to use it in a way that’s exciting.

TWELV: Who (or what) would you say has inspired you?

MK: There’s lots that influences me. Definitely showing at Friedman Benda—Andrea Branzi and the Campana brothers are huge references and inspirations to me. It’s amazing to feel like I’m in the same place as them. There’s also artists who’s work I look at a lot. I feel like I mention Franz West all the time and those sorts of forms that are shape/non-shapes. I’m really all over the place. 

TWELV: What is your creation process like? Do you have the same approach for each new piece that you work on? 

MK: Certainly not. I’m usually working on a lot of different projects at once, so I don’t start one thing and see it directly to it’s finish. I typically have a lot of pieces in the air at the same time. I don’t necessarily love that always, but it does help me move from one thing to the other. I have these cross epiphanies. I’ll be working on one thing and then think, “Oh, that would actually work for this,” so functionally that’s really helpful. 

I used to always jump in and make something. The drawing part was super quick and dirty. Now, I spend more time drawing and making models, and I think that when there are multiple parts to the process, it helps me work on more ambitious pieces. I feel like I’ve thought them through more. 

TWELV: Your apartment was recently featured in New York Magazine, and people got to see how you live within a space that bears striking resemblance to your art. What’s it like to live in your work? 

MK: First off, my studio is not at all like that. It’s a filthy industrial space with tools and things that I make use of and then they’re gone. So it’s been fun to have my work but to have a lot of other people’s work, too. They’re pieces that I find really influential, and having them around is a totally different experience when you take it home, both pragmatically and emotionally. I see these things even if I’m not really looking at them or thinking about them, and I think that’s really nice. But yeah, our apartment is a little bit insane. 

TWELV: Your latest exhibition Midden Heap is on display now at Friedman Benda. Can you tell us more about it? What went into building these pieces? 

MK: There’s a lot of different micro-series in the show. Half of the show is work that I did in Africa, with a group of women basket makers there. We came up with a weaving pattern using bits of trash in a way to make these structured cabinets. There’s also a lot of my new work which is built around a way to make individual casts in bronze. I did that all by using tin foil. The surfaces have this really crinkled texture which comes from making quick tin foil molds instead of the usual process of rubber and wax. And there’s a lot of stuff I did in studio with glass and metal forms that are organic and tectonic. With the woven pieces, it felt like we made a really wholesome experience. Everything was really warm and cobbled together in a really human way. On the other side of the gallery, it feels like there are evil creatures that have bright colors like toxic slime and crazy glowing glass elements. I thought that might be a nice juxtaposition to see those two worlds right next to each other. 

TWELV: In an age where smart phones, rather than galleries, are the way that most people will experience your art, do you think your latest work has the same kind of impact? 

MK: No. It’s something I have thought of a lot before and I didn’t really for this show, and I have regrets about that. I think some of the pieces are so layered, and there are so many frenetic objects that have such fine detail that you could never see on an Instagram picture. And I think seeing everything together in person is really engaging. In images on a phone, you just see the outlines and it feels messy. I think it’s a valid way of experiencing things though, and it’s an artist’s job to make art that works both ways.

TWELV: Do you have any exciting future projects?  

MK: Yes! Right now I’m building an underwater playground in the Maldives. It’s for people to explore while scuba diving. It will be a kind of mosaic wonderland. 

 

Midden Heap by Misha Kahn [American, b. 1989]

Friedman Benda, 515 W 26th Street New York, NY 10001

October 26 - December 16, 2017

 

 

WRITTEN BY AUDREY ROSE

EDITOR: HOLLIS DE LANEY

 

PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF FRIEDMAN BENDA AND MISHA KAHN

 

related posts

Bettina Werner's hand creating on a texturized salt crystal surface.

Interview: Bettina Werner's Pioneering Use of Salt in Art

Being an artist isn’t just a matter of creating paintings or sculptures in a particular medium, it’s about making your mark on history.

February 13, 2018 5:00 PM  |  Art / Culture
Donald Trump with Miss Mexico, Alison Jackson. The Untitled Space.

"One Year of Resistance" Recalls an Unsettling Year Under President Trump

During President Trump’s inauguration week, curator Indira Cesarine hosted a group art exhibition entitled Uprise / Angry Women in response to the election.

January 17, 2018 5:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

Artist-Activist Francesca Galliani Brings Her Messages of Empowerment to Fashion

Modern day social activism can be found and utilized everywhere from social media to organized protests.

December 08, 2017 5:00 PM  |  Art / Culture
Misha Kahn with "Scrappy Grand." Photo: Dan Kukla.

ARTIST MISHA KAHN'S ANTI-RIGHT-ANGLE EXHIBITION "MIDDEN HEAP" ON DISPLAY AT FRIEDMAN BENDA

Artist Misha Kahn lives in a world free of right angles.

December 08, 2017 4:00 PM  |  Art / Culture
Lin Dai, HOOCH CEO

Interview: Lin Dai, CEO of Hooch, the Game-changer Drinking App

Hooch is here just in time for the holidays! The Hooch app is the first-of-its-kind, subscription-based drinking app, offering customers 30 free drinks a month for just 10 dollars.

December 06, 2017 3:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

Chrome Hearts Miami Transformed into Candy Shop and Gallery for Art Basel

Chrome Hearts is celebrating Art Basel at their Miami retail space with a pop-up confectionary and café, alongside the launch of group exhibition in their second floor gallery. The...

December 06, 2017 1:00 PM  |  Art / Culture
no. 2 from "Only You" by Indira Cesarine

Indira Cesarine's "Only You" Art Series Visualizes Emotions after Betrayal

New-York based artist Indira Cesarine premiered the video format of her art series “Only You” at Art Basel Miami in 2010...

November 17, 2017 4:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

Chappy's "Dress the D" Halloween Campaign Promoting Safe Sex

The new-on-the-scene dating app Chappy has gained recognition for its mission and success in producing more meaningful...

October 31, 2017 4:00 PM  |  Art / Culture
Ashley Judd. Photo: Chiaki Kato

Ashley Judd & Gloria Steinem Address Human Trafficking at Apne Aap Benefit

The award-winning actress Ashley Judd, luminous in a bisque maxi-dress, was feted at a Manhattan soiree on Thursday night.

October 02, 2017 2:00 PM  |  Art / Culture
Yayoi Kusama. ©YAYOI KUSAMA

Yayoi Kusama to Open Namesake Museum in Tokyo

On your mark, get set, go! Yayoi Kusama enthusiasts will be delighted to know that tickets to the venerated Japanese artist’s namesake museum go on sale August 28.

August 24, 2017 5:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

Just Cavalli Restaurant & Club Opening in Porto Cervo

From the brand that fully embraces the bold and vibrant Dolce Vita lifestyle, now comes the ultimate nightlife experience. On July 14th, the...

July 17, 2017 10:00 AM  |  Art / Culture

The witty pop art of Alessio Franceschetto

Minimal, quirky and straight to the point, all uniquely describe the work of artist Alessio Franceschetto, a superhero of graphic art.

June 01, 2017 3:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

Go To Become, the poetic new art book of Jörgen Axelvall

TWELV is excited to announce Tokyo-based, photographer Jörgen Axelvall’s new exhibition and book release, Go To Become.

March 27, 2017 5:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

"Memory over reality" Crys Yin's reinvented childhood

Brushing eyes, combing toenails, flossing knees, and buying butts at the supermarket.

March 24, 2017 12:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

MOHRI SUZUKI IN NEW YORK CITY

Mohri Suzuki is acknowledged as one of the most promising calligraphy artists in Japan.

March 13, 2017 10:00 AM  |  Art / Culture
DONNA TRUMPETTE

Saint Hoax: The PoPlitically Incorrect Artist

Saint Hoax is an artist who comes out of Syria and has a limitless mind of his own.

January 05, 2017 3:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

DISNEY PRINCESS HIGH FASHION TRANSFORMATION

 

December 07, 2016 4:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

Frédéric Forest interview

November 28, 2016 11:00 AM  |  Art / Culture

Culture Chanel Exhibition Opened in Venice

A new exhibition at the Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art in Venice explores Coco Chanel’s life through her love for literature, her life living amongst...

November 23, 2016 2:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty exhibition

Starting November 4, 2016, the public will have the chance to admire the retrospective of Marilyn Minter's work at the Brooklyn Museum.

October 27, 2016 3:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

MARC JACOBS FALL2016 CAMPAIGN

Marc Jacobs, the man who keeps the fashion industry oohing and ahhing has shocked us once more.

October 12, 2016 3:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

The Fashion World with The Coveteur Book

The widely popular fashion website, The Coveteur, is coming out with a beautiful coffee table book on October 18, 2016.

October 12, 2016 11:00 AM  |  Art / Culture

CARVED CRAYONS. COOL.

Have you heard of "Wax Nostalgic?" How about the guy who can make almost anything out of crayons? Well Hoang Tran is the man behind it all!

September 12, 2016 5:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

COLORING BOOK "MAGICAL JUNGLE" BY Johanna Basford

“I create books so they can make masterpieces,” says Johanna Basford, about her new coloring book, Magical Jungle, which was recently published. 

August 09, 2016 3:00 PM  |  Art / Culture
HK_72, Hong Kong, 2014

Invader Invades the Earth with Street Art

Invader is a mystery. People don’t know his real name. They also don't know what he looks like.

July 01, 2016 3:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

MINI BAGS BY Phillip Nuveen

Phillip Nuveen in Wonderland: a mini fashion world

 

June 20, 2016 4:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

The Floppy Disk Portrait Artworks by Nick Gentry

Nick Gentry is an exceptional contemporary artist who compose oil painting portraits with obsolescent media like Floppy disks, vintage...

March 15, 2016 5:37 PM  |  Art / Culture
© Jorgen Axelvall

"OIDE" - The unique project by Jorgen Axelvall at The Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo

In the first of December 2015, the Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo invites you to the opening of...

December 01, 2015 6:00 PM  |  Art / Culture
Photo of the Markthal at dusk from the Binnenrotte, where the outdoor market takes place twice a week. ©Daria Scagliola/Stijn Brakkee

The Allurement of MVRDV's Rotterdam Markhal

Rarely does a market place transform an entire city – usually it is museums or art galleries, sometimes a hotel that brings in the crowds.

October 19, 2015 1:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

Heineken Cube by Muti Randolph

“Art is about creating interesting experiences and should not be limited to museums and galleries,” says the Brazilian multimedia artist ...

September 10, 2015 10:00 AM  |  Art / Culture

TAO DOWNTOWN - THE LUXURY RESTAURANT DESIGNED BY ROCKWELL GROUP

The Tao Downtown is a luxurious restaurant located at 92 Ninth Avenue on West 16th Street, New York.

August 31, 2015 12:00 PM  |  Art / Culture

Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style Exhibition

Years before the term “It Girl” become a thing, one woman, Jaqueline de Ribes, had already given it meaning.

August 24, 2015 11:00 AM  |  Art / Culture
Rendering by Noë & Associates and The Boundary

152 Elizabeth by Tadao Ando - The Essence of Serenity

Tadao Ando, a phenomenal architect, was born in Osaka, Japan.

August 21, 2015 9:00 AM  |  Art / Culture

Nike+ 45 Grand: An Intimate Brand Experience

Imagine a space intentionally curated to your fitness needs—complete with skylights, modern architecture, and a bustling event schedule.

August 19, 2015 10:00 AM  |  Art / Culture
© Ed Lederman

Explore How American Art Came to be, From Founding Families to Our Newest Immigrants, at the New Whitney Museum

“America is hard to see.

Less partial witnesses than he

In book on book have testified

August 14, 2015 11:00 AM  |  Art / Culture
Martine Johanna - Oh... Margot

Bad Dads VI: An art tribute to the films of Wes Anderson

This weekend in New York City, a group of over 70 artists is set to present the annual art exhibit "Bad Dads VI." In its sixth consecutive edition, the exhibition - which was...

August 07, 2015 9:00 AM  |  Art / Culture

Pages

SITE BY: monocomplex©Marbles & Marbles International Inc. Drupal Development by: DivDiv, NYC
▲ back to top ▲