Press Release / Sept. 4, 2015

The SCAD Museum of Art presents Dakota Jackson retrospective exhibition

Dakota Jackson, “Ke-Zu Chaise,” designed 1988; manufactured 1989, laminated wood, steel and leather. Courtesy of Dakota Jackson.


A public dialogue between Dakota Jackson and head curator Storm van Rensburg at 5:30 p.m. will precede the opening reception on Thursday, Oct. 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for students and public at the SCAD Museum of Art Theatre. Exhibition on view Sept. 25, 2015-Jan. 18, 2016.

The SCAD Museum of Art is pleased to present “The Making of Dakota Jackson,” the first major museum exhibition and retrospective of furniture designer Dakota Jackson. It will be on view Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, through Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, at 601 Turner Blvd, Savannah, Georgia. The exhibition explores the life and career of the visionary American designer and includes iconic works from his oeuvre, taking viewers from his first New York City design studio established in 1974 to the present.

Jackson’s trajectory as a leading furniture designer began in the bohemian art scene of the late ’60s and ’70s in downtown New York. He entered the creative sphere as a professional magician, a family trade he learned from his father. From there, his collaborations as a dancer and performer led to an interest in making furniture. One of his early commissions came from Yoko Ono in 1974: a desk as a gift to her husband, John Lennon, for his 34th birthday. An intricate piece of furniture drawing on the designer’s fascination with illusion, Mr. Jackson was asked by Mrs. Ono to create some of the unique desk features, such as the hidden compartments similar to those of an old Japanese magic box.

As Jackson expanded his practice, his focus shifted toward creating sleeker, more industrial-inspired objects. The series “Deadly Weapons” includes furniture designed and produced as one-of-a-kind works that could be described as functional sculptures. In the late ’70s, he moved his design practice into larger facilities and began using production line manufacturing, increasing the number and reach of his furniture pieces. His seminal pieces epitomizing this philosophy, “Vik-ter Chair” (1991) and “Library Chair” (1991), are included in the exhibition.

Music, movement and choreography remain important aspects of Jackson’s design work. His longtime collaborations with Steinway & Sons led to the commission of two limited-edition pianos and the “Tricentennial Commemorative Piano I” (2000) also featured in the exhibition. Various photographic records, drawings and archival material included in the show will provide in-depth insight into Jackson’s creative influences, process and design philosophy.

In 2013 the Savannah College of Art and Design recognized Jackson for his contribution to the American design lexicon through an invitation to be the university’s honorary chair of furniture design. SCAD head curator Storm Janse van Rensburg states that “the multiple unique influences that shape Jackson’s work have given form to objects that meld the artisanal with the conceptual, whilst remaining true to principles of exquisite design and practicality. The exhibition provides an opportunity to SCAD Museum of Art visitors and SCAD students to engage with the practice of a leading contemporary American designer whose oeuvre is rooted in existential questions of our time.”

“The Making of Dakota Jackson” is organized by Laurie Ann Farrell, executive director of SCAD museums and exhibitions, and van Rensburg.

About SCAD: The University for Creative Careers

The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited university conferring bachelor’s and master’s degrees at distinctive locations to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 majors, as well as minors in more than 60 disciplines. With more than 30,000 alumni worldwide, SCAD demonstrates an exceptional education and unparalleled career preparation. At locations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; in Hong Kong; in Lacoste, France; and online through SCAD eLearning, the diverse student body consists of nearly 12,000 students from across the U.S. and more than 100 countries.

The innovative SCAD curriculum is enhanced by advanced, professional-level technology, equipment and learning resources. The university, students, faculty and alumni have garnered acclaim from respected organizations and publications worldwide including Time, Vogue Magazine and U.S. News & World Report.

For more information, visit the official SCAD blog.

Media contacts:

Camille Desprez | FITZ & CO, Camille.Desprez@fitzandco.com, 212.627.1455 ext. 0920

Ally Hughes | SCAD, ahughes@scad.edu, 912.525.4881

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