Caroline Woolard's furniture designs might be considered to be works of art—not in the sense that they are highly limited collectibles but rather as critical commentary. Billed as a "post-media artist" by Eyebeam (where she was a fellow last year), Woolard generally regards objects as a means to an end, and her broad practice reflects her research-based, collaborative approach to making. Per her site: "In 2009, Woolard cofounded three organizations to support collaborative cultural production: a studio space, a barter network, and Trade School." These projects might be described as socially-conscious in the sense that they are intended to be scale models of society.
Woolard has set up shop in the Museum of Modern Art for her latest project, the Exchange Café, hosted by the institution's Department of Education through the end of the month. "Taking the form of a café, the Studio encourages visitors to question notions of reciprocity, value, and property through shared experiences. Tea, milk, and honey—products that directly engage the political economy—are available by exchange. Instead of paying with legal tender, Exchange Café patrons are invited to make a resource-based currency."
I'm long overdue for a MoMA visit as it is, but I'm particularly keen to see Woolard's "Barricade Bed," one of the articles of bespoke furniture that she designed for the space.
The ad hoc cot that consists of exactly what it sounds like; instructions are as follows:
STEP 1: Borrow a barricade
STEP 2: Tip it over
STEP 3: Attach hardware*
STEP 4: Add a mattress**
STEP 5: Modify and share revisions
* Hardware: 4 pcs 1” black plumbing strap (can be found at Decorama Plumbing Supply) with 3/4” wood spacers bolted to 14” tall wooden 2×6s or other legs, plus added safety attachments: 3 tennis balls on the ends, and a 1.25” diam. x 20” dowel for the extra leg)
** Long cot mattresses work, as well as prison mattresses, or 29” × 79” foam from Canal Rubber
See also: The "In Case of Riot" Table and "Protestor Protector"
The Exchange Café is located at the mezzanine of MoMA's Education & Research Building. The café is open on Fridays from 1–8pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 1–5pm through June 30, 2013.
Photo by Ryan Tempro