Peter Harkawik, Pool Toys


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Peter Harkawik
Pool Toys
March 13 – May 16

SF.06 (Freeman, Small)

Once- and Still-Revered Relics

Marta will host a collection of Peter Harkawik’s Pool Toys in an exhibition of the same name from March 13 to May 16, 2021. Engaging with the visual and material language of serialized, mass-produced retail items, Harkawik’s Pool Toys are semi-fictionalized reproductions of Frank Lloyd Wright’s canonical concrete textile blocks, meticulously rendered in vibrant, pigment-imbued expandable foam. The bountiful assembly of materially-enigmatic building blocks is presented at Marta in a cluster of notional end-cap displays that serve variously as containers and platforms for the works on view.

While Harkawik’s sculptures carefully partake in the aesthetics of an imagined institutional gift shop, each are deceptively elaborate, painstakingly reverse-engineered from studio relief drawings found in the Library of Congress archives. Their candid legibility as colorful, pleasurable items subject to the familiar impulses of self-expression and consumer choice belie their calculated and intensely laborious fabrication: a series of mass-manufacturing processes carried out by-hand in a studio-turned-factory environment.

In modeling the works after Wright’s so-called 'Mayan Revival' projects, Pool Toys softly prods at notions of appropriation and possessorship (e.g. The Ennis House, reclaimed as ‘The Blade Runner House’). By replicating these once- and still-revered relics—inherently reproducible, multiple by definition—Harkawik simultaneously magnifies and diminishes their significance, setting up a joyfully complex relationship between the object and its would-be owner.

Peter Harkawik (b. 1982) lives and works between New York and Los Angeles. Past exhibition venues include the SMC Barrett Gallery, The Pit, Praz-Delavallade, Derek Eller, Freddy, Suzanne Geiss Co., Knowmoregames, and Gavin Brown's Enterprise. Harkawik is the proprietor and curator of Real Pain, an artist-operated contemporary art gallery with locations in Los Angeles and New York. He received his MFA in Sculpture from the Yale University School of Art in 2011..

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Marta is a gallery that hosts works at the meeting points of art and design. Founded in Los Angeles in 2019, the gallery makes space for artists to experiment with the utility of design, and for designers to explore the occasional abandonment of function. Marta’s curatorial and publication programs take interest in both the process of an object’s creation as well the narrative of its creator(s). Marta embraces the intersection of disciplines, advocates for diversity in design, and promotes access to the arts.