Featuring: Damien Hirst, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Paul McCarthy, Yayoi Kusama, Maurizio Cattelan, Rachel Whiteread, Tunga, Matthew Ronay, Barbara Kruger and Tom Friedman.
Ten chess sets designed by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists in a celebration of the game and its continued relevance to the creative arts.
Each set, made in an edition of seven, is individually crafted in a variety of different materials such as wood, porcelain, glass and silver and packaged to the artist’s specified wishes.
The exact origin of chess is unclear but is believed to have originated in the 7th century. No other game in history has been so widely reflected in art and literature. Due to its conceptual depth and deep roots in civilization, chess remains an intriguing and complex subject for the Artist. The Art of Chess demonstrates that the game has lost none of its inspirational power in the 21st century and that it continues to be an optimal means for artistic expression.
For example, Rachel Whiteread set out to pursue her love of dollhouses when creating her Modern Chess Set. The set is made up of meticulous casts of the artist’s own dollhouse furniture and is packaged in a custom-made games box. The board reflects the overall design with linoleum and carpet squares.
Tom Friedman’s chess set is equally intricate and playful setting out to be a mini-retrospective of the artist’s best known works including a rook made out of a Crest toothpaste packaging, a miniature portrait of the artist carved out of Styrofoam and a plastic cup full of gravel and made out of Play-Doh. The board itself takes the form of a wooden table and is accompanied by two severed tree trunks as seats.
Barbara Kruger’s chess set includes pieces that are mini speakers so that when each one is moved it either asks a question or gives an answer. The conversation has endless possibilities.
The show is being presented in tandem with the exhibition The Imagery of Chess Revisited, on view at The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City from Oct. 21, 2005, to March 5, 2006. This is the first major museum exhibition to explore and reprise one of the legendary events in the history of 20th-century art: the 1944-45 exhibition The Imagery of Chess, organized by Surrealist masters Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst for the Julien Levy Gallery in New York. The exhibition brings together more than 80 chess sets and chess-themed works by some of the most influential artists of the 20th century.