Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New York Times: Games -- Chess

A lovely little fluff piece in the "Home and Garden" section of The New York Times.  Sigh.

Shopping With Libby Sellers

It's All Fun and Games

Published: June 13, 2012

Democratic Chess by Florian Hauswirth; about $490,

AMONG those gathered in Switzerland this week for the annual Design Miami/Basel design fair is Libby Sellers, a gallerist from London presenting “Games,” a group show with a chess theme.

The exhibit, which includes pieces by industrial, furniture and graphic designers, was inspired by a 1944 show at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York that featured chess sets by Man Ray, Isamu Noguchi and other artists. (It can also be seen at Gallery Libby Sellers in London in July and August: it’s her “contribution to the Olympics,” she said.)

Ms. Sellers, 39, who was in New York City this spring for the Frieze Art Fair, took time out to shop for other interesting examples of games (board and otherwise) by design types.

She began at the shop at Phillips de Pury & Company on Park Avenue, which carries Tauba Auerbach’s One Deck of Cards: Shapes, a set of playing cards she had seen in London. “I have always been aware of her work,” Ms. Sellers said. “And I find the idea of using letters and forms of letters and words on the page to create two-dimensional sculpture really interesting.”

A surprise find at the same shop was a set of wood-inlaid table-tennis paddles, called Urban Picnic: Paddle, by Gareth Neal.

“I’m sure a paddle isn’t the first thing a designer thinks of creating,” she said. “Usually they go for a table, chair or shelving unit. The fact he’s applying his veneer treatments to objects that are about handling and play shows that there’s a lighter side to design — it doesn’t have to be all serious.”

Chess set by Lanier Graham; $65 at MoMa Design Store; (800) 851-4509,

At the MoMA Design Store, she turned up a chess set designed in 1966 by Lanier Graham, a nice example of “abstracting traditional chess forms,” she said. “If you took the pieces off the board, you wouldn’t necessarily identify them as chess pieces: it’s not a king or a queen, it’s just an object with a point.”

She also loved Frank Gehry’s brand-new, special-order-only chess set, on display at Tiffany & Company on Fifth Avenue.

“What super-surreal architectural forms,” she enthused. “It’s really indulgent, really fantastic.”
But what about that $25,000 price tag?

“Well,” she said, “that’s less than one of his buildings.”

A version of this article appeared in print on June 14, 2012, on page D6 of the New York edition with the headline: It’s All Fun and Games.

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