"During the 70's there was a lot of design activity that clarified some of the tenets of modernism and anticipated minimalism. The 80's were just crazy so much grandeur and ornament. While I wouldn't want to live in an 80's period room that is stuffed with chintz and grandfather clocks and volumes of books, I appreciate the dedication to antiques, detail and style."
What does the name of your store, CAVIAR 20, refer to?
I really thought "Troy Seidman 20th Century" (or something along those lines) was a bit of a mouthful. I love black lacquered furniture and Caviar just seemed evocative of the spirit and aesthetic of what I wanted to present.
How did you first get interested in Design + Art?
Seeing one of Felix Gonzales-Torres' pieces, comprised of a pile of wrapped candy in a corner available to be taken by the viewer, made a big impression on me at the age of 15. I had also been spending some time in Brussels in 2006 and discovered Ado Chale. I think he is the first 20th century furniture designer that I fell in love with.
Félix González-Torres, “Untitled” (USA Today),” 1990.
Why you were affected by Felix Gonzales-Torres' pieces?
FGT's sculpture is so radical because it requires the viewer to shift from passive observer to recipient. Normally the viewer is forbidden from physically engaging with artwork, with FGT (especially the candy sculptures) the viewer bends down, picks up, unwraps and eats (!) All these physical actions that normally have nothing to do with experiencing art. With this in mind, I think the bridge to being interested in both 20th century/contemporary design has a natural proximity.
I love Arik Levy's "Meteor" for example because it is both functional and sculptural. It can sit in a corner and just be a sexy object, or I can sit on it, put books on it, use it as a foot stool etc. If you read the descriptions on Caviar20 you'll notice that one of our favorite terms in "sculptural presence", even when a piece is good at its responsibilities (like being a chair) we want it to be engaging enough visually that it could never be sat in but still cherished.
Ado Chale? What is it that you found yourself attracted to?
I think a lot of men respond to Ado Chale's work because his pieces are like jewelry for a room. Unlike a woman, I don't have the privilege/option of wearing precious stones and gems but I still appreciate the beauty of these natural elements. (Well I could wear jewelry but Liberace is not really my choice of fashion icon or reference point)
Anyway, Ado Chale takes natural elements like lapis, malachite and even peppercorns, and he inlays them into black lacquer and the results are just breathtaking. His work has this great balance between being ornate without being ornamental or glamorous and minimalist.
Who is Caviar 20 working with at the moment?
I'm currently working with 6 contemporary designers; Bev Hisey, Tahir Mahmood, Group-Two Design, Don Howell, Reed Hansuld and Dyland McKinnon. All 6 designers represent an amazing intersection between craftsmanship and innovation. Their aesthetics vary but all of their work is sexy, clever and well-made.
USA, circa 1940, candle sconces
Who are some of the designers you are carrying in Caviar 20?
As for 20th century designers, I carry and seek out Verner Panton, Curtis Jere, Gaetano Pesce, Raymor, Bjorn Wiinblad, Piero Fornasetti, Italian glass/lighting (like Vistosi, Mazzega and Venini). I also love (non-reissued) Knoll.
3 favorite designers you passionately collect? Or any specific time/era you are drawn to?
I really love the 70's and 80's. During the 70's there was a lot of design activity that clarified some of the tenets of modernism and anticipated minimalism. The 80's were just crazy so much grandeur and ornament. While I wouldn't want to live in an 80's period room that is stuffed with chintz and grandfather clocks and volumes of books, I appreciate the dedication to antiques, detail and style. I really love Vistosi (Italian glass), Rita Letendre (a Canadian abstract artist) and Richard Serra.
Any advice for the new collector, other than "collect what you love..."?
Seek out pieces that are iconic but have unique features/elements. Avoid pieces that have been reissued (or that are in continuous production).
What is IDS11 in Toronto?
Its a cross between a trade show and a contemporary design fair. The most exciting element of IDS is a section called "Studio North" where contemporary designers have small booths or participate in a prototype competition. It is a great way to see what is happening with contemporary design in Canada.
3 things I would never guess about Troy Seidman?
-I wanted to open a laundromat when I lived in Tel Aviv.
-I've run 4 marathons.
-My father is a very serious collector of books on baseball. He has a library of over 5,000 titles. (I love passionate collectors!)
Troy Seidman is the founder of Caviar20. He has worked at Le Musée D’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Todd Merrill Antiques, Galerie Van den Akker, and Sotheby’s. He has participated in fairs including The Armory Show, Le Book, Modernism, Toronto International Art Fair, Palm Beach International Art Fair, Olympia (London), Pavillon des Arts & Design (Paris), and Design Miami.
Troy divides his time between Toronto, Montréal and New York.
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