Design doesn’t get enough respect. Just ask Murray Moss, the design majordomo who shuttered his beloved SoHo emporium of avant-garde objects last February due to lagging sales. “Compared to art, it’s cheap,” he laments. “At least most of it. And it’s punished because it does more.” Indeed it’s an illogical bias, and one that Moss, who now runs a consultancy bureau, is aiming to correct with an exhibition and auction for Phillips de Pury that juxtaposes objects from his personal collection with art. Among his cleverly paired lots: a Gio Ponti wall organizer (est. at $70,000 to $90,000) and a similarly geometric Kazimir Malevich drawing of a ceiling plan (est. at $100,000 to $150,000); a resin-coated lace Marcel Wanders table (est. at $4,000 to $6,000) and a Scipione Pulzone painting of Maria de’ Medici with a stiffened lace collar (est. at $150,000 to $200,000); a nearly invisible glass console table by Tokujin Yoshioka (est. at $12,000 to $18,000) and a hard-to-ignore Frank Stella shark attack sculpture (est. at $300,000-$400,000). “Art and design may be different, but it’s possible for something to have a duality. To eat your ice cream on that Maarten Baas table,” he says gesturing to a handmade clay and metal dining piece (est. at $40,000 to $60,000), “but also proudly regard it as sculpture.” And together with an Alberto Giacometti bronze cast (est. at $2-3 million) whose torso cuts off just where the legs on the Baas table begin, they make for an intriguing collage. Moss calls it the “art of montage”—putting the right characters on a stage together so a spark happens. “I see the richness of connections between things,” he says. “I mean, can someone at the Met please take that fucking Mondrian and walk it over to the Rietveld and make a story out of it? Who’s it going to hurt?”
“Moss: Dialogues Between Art & Design,” the auction, will be held October 16 at Phillips de Pury, 450 Park Avenue. The exhibition is currently on view.
Photos: courtesy of Phllips de Pury