Furniture Student Toomas Toomepuu Featured in Prestigious Friedman Benda Exhibition

The art and design worlds, like most aspects of culture, have been upended by the pandemic, and museums and galleries have had to rethink their strategies for displaying and promoting the work of artists and designers. Late in the year, cultural institutions continue to postpone, re-imagine or cancel their 2020 exhibitions. In response to this once-in-a-century global crisis, New York gallery Friedman Benda has launched What Would Have Been, featuring work by established and emerging furniture designers that had been intended for other venues before being displaced by the pandemic.

The prestigious exhibition features the work of Furniture Senior Toomas Toomepuu alongside some of the world’s most innovative contemporary designers, including Marcel Wander, Wendell Castle, Misha Kahn and Chris Schank. The furniture designs, which hail from 30 studios, were intended for display around the world in museum and gallery shows and commissioned for prestigious art fairs like the London Biennial and Design Miami Basel before losing their intended platforms.

Composed of plywood, various hardwoods, glass, steel, silicone, foam and rubber, Toomepuu’s chair Rain Dance (2019) speaks to both the multidisciplinary character for which the field is becoming known as well as the parallel global crisis of climate change and how to reimagine discarded materials.

The exhibition catalog notes that there is a maturity in the CCS senior’s work that “belies both its initial frantic impression and his own relative youth; the melancholic undertow comes in part from his use of waste materials, which could be construed as a response to the daunting realities of climate change. These are objects for an overfull world, choking itself with stuff. But insofar as Toomepuu channels that sense of reckless abandon, his work takes on a genuine quality of optimism, even exuberance. If these objects are harbingers of doom, they also tell us that we might as well go out dancing.”

Audiences can view What Would Have Been online and on location at Friedman Benda through December 12, 2020.