Friday, November 13, 2020

Dozie Kanu at Project Native Informant

"Is there a distinction between furniture and works of art? Where do you fall on the spectrum?"
"Sometimes I make sculptures, but for the most part right now I’m making functional works. It’s a little bit less rigorous. Sometimes I feel pressured to load work with meaning—or, when the work doesn’t have a real function, you’re sort of trying to create a perceived function. As if it serves a purpose. Worth having an existence. That can be nerve-racking sometimes. I think it should happen very naturally, very organically. With furniture, the function is its purpose, so it’s still art in that way. You can still give it that same respect, but you can justify its existence immediately because you can use it, you know?" (interview in ssense
"But Kanu muddles the usual divisions, highlighting the way black vernacular making—slab culture, African textiles—is excluded from rigid notions of what art is and by whom it is made." (Review by Tiana Reid in AiA)

Kanu is right about the functional object. And one of the joys of a vernacular functionalism is the endlessly alternative, the elsewise arrival at a similar solution. Think Birney Imes documenting the solutions of an impoverished south. Kanu's project might be a similar mining of alternatives to an already existing solution, selling the artworld what it wants. 

See too: Jessi Reaves at Bridget DonahueMelvin Edwards at Daniel BuchholzMark Grotjhan at KarmaRobert Grosvenor at Karma