On November 5, Friedman Benda will open an expansive exhibition called What Would Have Been. On the heels of a tumultuous and unprecedented cycle of global events, the gallery will share a trove of design from over 30 studios originally destined for exhibition in galleries, fairs, and museums across five continents.
What Would Have Been shows us what we have been missing and points forward; it fills in the blank spaces, offers new direction and represents a coming together of voices. The show tells a story of design that juxtaposes established designers with newcomers without predictability from either, and prompts a re-examination of assumptions consistent with current events at large.
The exhibition makes accessible design that lost its intended platform; works shown briefly before museum doors closed or failed to open at all in Atlanta, Ghent, Melbourne, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Shanghai, Wiltshire, and further; works commissioned for festivals and art fairs including the London Biennale, TEFAF, The Salon, Design Miami Basel; and works that were slated for the gallery in Chelsea before the New York art community shutdown.
What Would Have Been provides a platform not only for work that lost its expected audience in 2020 but gives a first opportunity to engage with bodies of work and narratives that have come to brilliant fruition during this same time period. They emerged because of, or in spite of, the seismic shifts in the familiar political, social, and economic order. They are an affirmation of what can be accomplished when society retreats physically but remains hyper-connected digitally. And they represent the uninterrupted dialogue and partnership with makers, studios, museums, and design audiences across the world that is at the heart of the gallery mission.
Consistent with the period that inspired it, What Would Have Been takes place not only in the gallery but also online, marking the tension and dialogue between these two spaces.
All works from both venues will be included in a digital catalogue by Glenn Adamson. A full list of practices to follow:
Ini Archibong (b. 1983 in Pasadena; active in Neuchatel, Switzerland)
Daniel Arsham (b. 1980, active in New York)
Andrea Branzi (b. 1938, active in Milan, Italy)
Paul S. Briggs (b. 1963, active in Boston)
Estudio Campana (est. 1998, active in São Paulo, Brazil)
Wendell Castle (b. 1932 in Kansas City; active 1962-2018 in Rochester)
Byung Hoon Choi (b. 1952, active in Seoul, South Korea)
Paul Cocksedge (b. 1978, active in London, UK)
Carmen D’Apollonio (b. 1973 in Zurich, Switzerland; active in Los Angeles)
Andile Dyalvane (b. 1978, active in Cape Town, South Africa)
Najla El Zein (b. 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon; active in Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Front Design (est. 2003, active in Stockholm, Sweden)
Bruno Gambone (b. 1936, active in Florence, Italy)
gt2P [Great Things to People] (est. 2009, active in Santiago, Chile)
Florian Idenburg [SO-IL] (b. 1975 in Haarlem, Netherlands; active in Brooklyn)
Misha Kahn (b. 1989, active in Brooklyn)
Shiro Kuramata (1934-1991, Tokyo, Japan)
Joris Laarman (b. 1979, active in Amsterdam, Netherlands)
John Mason (1927-2019, Los Angeles)
Raphael Navot (b. 1977 in Jerusalem, Israel; active in Paris, France)
nendo (est. 2002, active in Tokyo, Japan)
Erez Nevi Pana (b. 1983 in Bnei Brak, Israel; active in Linz, Austria)
OrtaMiklos (est. 2015, active in Eindhoven, Netherlands and Les Moulins, France)
Gaetano Pesce (b. 1939 in La Spezia, Italy; active in New York)
Raw-Edges (est. 2007, active in London, UK)
Chris Schanck (b. 1975, active in Detroit)
Mattias Sellden (b. 1986, active in Johanneshov, Sweden)
Adam Silverman (b. 1963, active in Los Angeles)
Ettore Sottsass (b. 1917 in Innsbruck, Austria; active 1946-2007 in Milan, Italy)
Faye Toogood (b. 1977, active in London, UK)
Toomas Toomepuu (b. 1995, active in Detroit)
Jonathan Trayte (b. 1980, active in London, UK)
Marcel Wanders (b. 1963, active in Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Thaddeus Wolfe (b. 1979, active in Brooklyn)