PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas June 2022

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I s it furniture or art? Chris Schanck gets asked that a lot, and the answer is a bit of both. "In my heart I'm an artist — designing furniture is how I've found my way," he says. Schanck, 47, toils in the netherworld where art and design converge, his work assembled A DALLAS NATIVE, HIS WORK BLURS THE LINES BETWEEN ART AND FURNITURE, FANTASY AND REALITY. A RETROSPECTIVE AT THE MUSEUM OF ARTS AND DESIGN IN NEW YORK SPOTLIGHTS CHRIS SCHANCK'S TALENT FOR TRANSFORMING MUNDANE MATERIALS INTO LAVISH OBJECTS LAYERED WITH PERSONAL MEANING. IN A REVEALING INTERVIEW, HE SHARES HIS ROAD TO ADDICTION RECOVERY — AND HOW ART SAVED HIM. By Rebecca Sherman THE CRAZY, BEAUTIFUL WORLD OF CHRIS SCHANCK JOSH SCOTT from found materials and covered in shimmering resin and aluminum foil. A Dallas native now living in Detroit, Schanck studied painting and sculpture in the 1990s at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, which he credits as a sanctuary for art amid a home life roiled with addiction and instability. Now an international star in the world of contemporary design, the artist's furniture is highly sought after, ranging between $30,000 and $150,000. Designer William Sofield furnished the Tom Ford flagship on Madison Avenue with a chair and console, and architect Peter Marino commissioned Schanck to create benches for a dozen Dior boutiques. Bottega Veneta installed several of Schanck's pieces at a Detroit pop- up shop, and his works are held in private and public collections around the country, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Dallas Museum of Art. The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York has mounted a retrospective of his work, "Chris Schanck: Off-World" (through January 8, 2023), supported by Friedman Benda, the elite New York gallery that also represents Schanck's work stateside. "Chris is one of the most exciting artists working in contemporary furniture today," says the show's guest curator, Andrew Blauvelt, director of Cranbrook Art Museum, which owns two of Schanck's works. "As an artist, he adopts a conceptually rich approach to his work, and as a designer he pushes expectations of what furniture can be." Twenty-four of his elaborately carved and colorful furniture forms are featured, including Mum, a chandelier made in collaboration with his mother, with whom he once had a strained relationship. "I wanted to make peace with her, to reconnect in some way," Schanck says. His mother sculpted the chandelier from twigs and sticks collected from vacant lots and the beach near her Florida home; Schanck organized it with an armature of steel pipes, applied color through layers of tinted resin, and made it into a working lamp. Shuddering Cabinet — a tall chest of drawers that looks as if it's being devoured by pink foam — has drawers and cabinets made from OSB (oriented strand board), an inexpensive plywood-like material ubiquitous throughout Detroit's poorest areas, Chris Schanck 54

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