Appliance House

1998–99
Jennifer Bolande (American, born in 1957)


Dimensions

231.1 x 149.9 x 12.7 cm (91 x 59 x 5 in.)

Accession Number

2000.643.1

Medium or Technique

Duratrans photographs, clear and white Plexiglas, stainless steel light boxes, fluorescent tubes, ballasts, transformers.

On View

Edward H. Linde Gallery (Gallery 168)

Collections

Americas, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Mixed media

In this sculpture, Bolande examines our perception of modernism in today’s world. Appliance House suggests the appearance of New York’s Lever House (built in 1952), an icon of the modernist, precise and minimal International Style of architecture. By mimicking the height of modernist style, Bolande questions whether or not the movement was successful in achieving its goals, namely universality, democracy and efficiency through design. International Style, Lever House being a prime example, is often criticized for catering more to the elite, who could afford the attentions of premium architects, than the masses whom the architects claimed to care about. Here, the artist establishes an ironic link between the power of a façade and the reality that supports it through the juxtaposition of the building’s exterior with images of executive offices and scenes from Laundromats seen through the small windows. In this way, the disconnection between the glamorous exterior of the building and the truth of the life inside is uncovered.

Provenance

The artist; with Alexander and Bonin, New York; purchased by MFA, Boston, June 21, 2000

Credit Line

Contemporary Curator's Fund

Copyright

Reproduced with permission.