Verner Panton. October 5, 2021 to January 8, 2022.
On October 5, R & Company will open Verner Panton, an exhibition celebrating the enduring influence and incredible imagination of the Danish designer.
R & Company has long championed Panton’s vision, becoming, in 2001, the first presenter in the United States to show his work in an immersive environment as he originally conceived. On the 20th anniversary of that first exhibition, R & Company will once again capture Panton’s singular approach to form, color, and material in an exhibition that brings viewers into the designer’s bold and playful world through a selection of both rare and iconic lamps, textiles, chairs, and additional furniture pieces. The group of nearly 50 objects that will be presented in Verner Panton were collected over the course of three years. The effort highlights R & Company’s commitment to reviving the market for Panton works, which has been dormant for many years due to the scarcity of original pieces. The exhibition will remain on view through January 8, 2022, at the gallery’s 64 White Street location.
This new exhibition will focus on Panton’s work with lighting, which was guided by the philosophy that the lightbulb should be obscured to emphasize the experience of the form, material, and emanating light. Verner Panton will feature more than a dozen examples of the designer’s hanging and wall-mounted lamps, including several Wonderlamps made with varyingly colored plastic balls and shaped into organic forms. Among the highlights is also Panton’s Fireball lamp. The work, which behaves largely as a sculpture that contains a light source, was never mass produced and captures both Panton’s sense of play and unwavering interest in pushing the boundaries that define functional objects.
These works will be contextualized within an environment that also features a range of textiles and carpets—many of which have not been on view in many years—several iterations of his breakthrough single-form, stackable “S” chair, and a rare sofa made as part of a series for Thonet Furniture, which maintains its original fabric. Together, the objects in the exhibition will envelop the viewer in a dynamic space that compels the senses with its many different surfaces, textures, colors, lights, and undefinable forms.
“In many ways we take for granted what Panton achieved in his career. When he first opened his studio in the 1950s, no one was working with curved forms and bold color, layering patterns, and breaking functional objects out of their most rigid and recognizable forms and materials. He had an incredible vision that was grounded in deep intellectual theory about the importance of imagination, play, and feeling within our everyday contexts,” said Zesty Meyers, Principal at R & Company. “Today, we understand these experiences as common, which is a testament to his success and importance. There isn’t a designer that works in color that hasn’t been influenced by Panton, whether consciously or subconsciously. Now, we are once again bringing into view the vast diversity and significance of his work.”
“With this exhibition, we are creating a space of escape and respite—a place where the imagination can wander, even if briefly, away from the stresses outside. This is very much in alignment with Panton’s vision, to produce objects and environments to excite, inspire, and compel people,” said Evan Snyderman, Principal at R & Company. “This is also particularly meaningful for us. We opened our first dedicated Panton show just after 9/11 on October 4, 2001. We were amazed by the number of people that navigated the many obstacles to see the show at our Franklin Street space, which was in Zone 1, the highest security area of the city. But we believe fully that it was the richness of the Panton experience that drove them to see it. Strangely, we find ourselves again in a difficult moment and we’re thrilled to offer this exhibition as a place for people to come and be present and connect with these extraordinary works.”
R & Company will concurrently open a focus exhibition of glass works by contemporary American artist, Richard Marquis.
64 White Street