“Able Objects” by Real OK Design a demonstration in duality at Public Pool

Arts / Article

Able-bodied art patrons test their abilities against “Able Objects” at Public Pool.

Saturday night’s opening of “Able Objects” at Public Pool, featuring the work of Real OK Design (a.k.a. artist Aaron Blendowski) presented a trifectarial appeal to my particular sensibilities: functional sculpture, appropriation of common objects, and art you can touch. These aspects make perfect sense when taken in the context of Blendowski’s other professional enterprises, including direction of Cranbrook Academy of Art’s wood and fabrication studio, and co-founder credit for OmniCorpDetroit.

"moderondack chair" and "realtree fleur de lis"

“Moderondack chair” and “Realtree fleur de lis.”

“Able Objects,” on display at Public Pool through May 11th, is a roomful of sculptural works that might be taken for an otherworlds IKEA, if you squint a little (reminiscent in some ways of last year’s “J.C. Hudsears: Andy Krieger’s Holiday Showroom”). Some among the opening night crowd accepted the invitation to test the construction as they milled between sculptures in the semblance of chairs, shelves, benches, light fixtures and even fireplace tools, rendered in a mélange of found industrial materials, including wood, spray paint and rebar.

If you're on the fence about the nature of art, sit and think until you are enlightened

If you’re on the fence about the nature of art, sit and think until you are enlightened.

Renowned art philosopher Arthur Danto expertly dissected the elevation of everyday objects to the status of art in his seminal treatise, “The Transfiguration of the Commonplace,” drawing upon the work of artists like Marcel Duchamp and especially Andy Warhol. Though Blendowski’s installation has a tongue-in-cheek tone (for example, a megaphone repurposed as the “threat manager 2”), the overall effect is perhaps more reminiscent of artists such as Charles and Ray Eames, managing to apply design principles and aesthetics so deftly that a chair can be a piece of art while still remaining a chair in some fundamental way. For this blogger and champion of functional art, Blendowski’s invitation is a playful and welcoming challenge to pull up some art and make yourself comfortable.

"threat manager 2"

“Threat manager 2.”

"pit utensils"

“Pit utensils.”

Opening night crowd warming up to "fire pit"

The opening night crowd warming up to Fire pit.”

Public Pool3309 Caniff St., Hamtramck; 313-405-7665; apublicpool.com