March 4, 2024

Mutants Showing Proves There’s an Appetite for Unique Design

Hosted in a cavernous Brooklyn warehouse space dubbed “Wintercheck Factory,” the exhibition felt a bit like stumbling upon a conceptual crime scene.

Pieces were cordoned off by tape outlines on the floor while the materiality of many of the works encouraged dungeon-esque allusions: There was rubber, resin, some cable ties, and at least one instance of medical foam.

Kristen Wentrcek and Andrew Zebulon ushered guests into their new show this weekend clad in bright yellow safety vests. It was a fitting look for an evening spent at “Mutants,” a catalog of “aborted experiments and rejiggered materials” from the duo’s own practice, as well as new and unseen works from Sam Stewart (“hump-backed lamps with which to light yr path to hell,” read the event flyer), Doug Johnston, and Brendan Timmins.

Guests mingled over the “bar,” a custom-built trough illuminated from beneath by a flat-screen TV and filled with a potent cocktail of vodka, aquavit, and a blend of rooftop garden herbs. The watering hole was sprung from the furtive imagination of Arley Marks (Honey’s, Dimes, Mission Chinese). Guests filled their disposable cups from it using turkey basters as if literally (and maybe metaphorically? ) “draining the swamp. ” When the custom cocktail was depleted, Marks gamely replenished the bar with Bud Light.

If the goal of the show was, as its organizers claimed in their invite, to “liberate these artworks from obscurity,” Wentrcek and Zebulon succeeded swimmingly; every piece was priced under $300 and about half of them were sold before the opening night party even started. (Wentrcek and Zebulon also gamely offered to provide free delivery within the five boroughs “via two-door Jeep Cherokee. ”)

Christian Swafford and Lauren Larson, cofounders and designers of Material Lust and Orphan Work, purchased a butter-yellow seat-cart (“Creeper”) via Instagram earlier in the day; Apartamento cofounder and creative director Omar Sosa posted Sam Stewart’s LED lamps with ample eyes emojis. Not bad for a rainy Saturday night, and proof that design’s appetite for the weird and wonderful – and the artists who trade in it – remains as voracious as ever.

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