May 18, 2003|By Susan Freudenheim, Tribune Newspapers: Los Angeles Times.
“Hey, you apperceive what would accomplish a abundant coffee table book? A coffee-table book about coffee tables.” So declared Kramer, the ever-scheming appearance on “Seinfeld.” Then in a after episode, he talked “on air” about the book on “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.” His abstraction was to accomplish a book about coffee tables that additionally adapted into a coffee table. And as he talked, a alarm went off in the minds of two real-life admirers — adorning arts experts James Zemaitis and Alexander Payne of the Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg bargain house. They knew as able-bodied as anyone that no such book on the history of coffee tables existed.
Their effort, “The Coffee Table Coffee Table Book” by Zemaitis and Payne (Black Dog Press, 288 pages, $45), won’t accept the Kramer-style legs.
“We accomplished that there are aloof three above categories of books on 20th Aeon design,” Zemaitis said afresh from his appointment in New York. “Overwhelming surveys, monographs on alone designers and, finally, what I alarm `the band of the chair.'” A cardinal exhibition on the history of the armchair at the Vitra Architecture Museum in Germany set the accepted for the latter.
But coffee tables, which Zemaitis says are a archetypal archetype of 20thCentury style, acquaint an appropriately absorbing tale.
Zemaitis lectures on Midcentury Modernism, which he calls “America’s moment of cocktail Modernism,” the best accelerated aeon of artful development of such tables. The book, however, is broader in its scope. “The coffee table, clashing the chair, is a 20th Aeon form,” he said. “There are Turkish coffee tables from the 18th and 19th Century, but it wasn’t until the aboriginal years of the aftermost aeon that it absolutely started to appear.” First, in France, the “table bas” (low table) began to be acclimated as a abode to put drinks, although the French placed the table to the ancillary of a allowance and not as the axial focus of basement arrange as we do today. In 1915, the abundant French artist Eileen Gray created what ability accept been the aboriginal accurate archetype of the form.
During the 1930s, the era of Prohibition and the Abundant Depression, the American coffee table as we apperceive it absolutely began to emerge. “It was the aboriginal august era of home entertaining,” he said, which can be apparent throughout accepted magazines of the time. For banking affidavit and to abstain actuality prosecuted for drinking, bodies began to accumulate added in the home, and this new affectionate of table bound began to flourish.
The tables took two audible forms — geometric and biomorphic. The blooming Surrealist movement in the art apple abundantly afflicted top designers such as Gray, alive in Paris, Isamu Noguchi, who formed in Japan and elsewhere, and Frederick Kiesler in New York. The strange, animal-like legs of Gray’s “Tempe a Pailla,” about 1935, a table with a compressed-wood carved top, illustrates some of the mystical explorations of this era.
Around the aforementioned time, Noguchi fabricated his aboriginal ancestor for his acclaimed biomorphic IN-52 coffee table, millions of which accept back been produced. The constant access of this appearance can be apparent in a curved, layered table blue-blooded “Mesa,” created in the 1950s by the British-born T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, who fabricated his career as a artist and biographer and was acutely accepted in Hollywood.
Zemaitis said that back he and Payne began researching the topic, they begin that alone advisers had approved to archive the history of the form. Their goal, by contrast, was to address “in a blithe tone,” in the attitude of the archetypal big-format account books. The aftereffect will be “an A-to-Z guide, a history of all the abundant tables.”
Designs commonly can be afar amid the commonsensical “to be placed amid the daybed and the TV” and the “object of beauty,” Zemaitis says. But in the 1990s and into the 21st Century, some designers accept taken on new extremes, creating beat designs for the anniversary Salone Internazionale del Mobile appliance fair captivated in Milan and added venues that “force a chat about what the coffee table is.”
Seven Things Nobody Told You About The Coffee Table Book Of Coffee Tables By Kramer – The Coffee Table Book of Coffee Tables By Kramer
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