Design for Living is a comedic play from 1932 by English playwright Noel Coward that follows the ups and downs of a morally adventurous threesome. Its title echoes the Bauhaus notion of the total work of art, where all aspects of life are designed, foregrounding a direct relationship between the personal and the aesthetic. The works in this exhibition, by Louis Fratino, Ann Hirsch, and Jacolby Satterwhite, figure this relationship by fusing the speculative or imaginary with the intimate.

Louis Fratino’s passionate observations of friends and lovers have a fictive, allegorical quality. His fields of vivid color and his expressive style recall early Modernist portraiture, although his interpretations of the male form mine a visual history that goes back at least to ancient Greece. He pictures an intimate realm of subjectivity and desire that the outside world infiltrates only through refraction and sublimation.

Ann Hirsch’s bold, intense works on paper open up issues of alienation, gender, and otherness to an empathetic gaze. They share German Expressionist portraits’ unnerving sense of disquiet and flux while remaining utterly of the moment. Mercurial and emotive, Hirsch’s combination of imagination and autobiography redefines the portrait, presenting subjects that are both fragmented and expansive.

Jacolby Satterwhite’s Metonym sculptures are based upon a selection of his late mother’s numerous diagrammatic sketches. Her designs form a compendium that reflects her creative and entrepreneurial drives as well as her experience of schizophrenia. Reminiscent of Art Nouveau design, the artist’s sculptures have an organic, sensual quality that captures mixed emotions informed by nostalgia, longing, and optimism.

Louis Fratino (1993, Annapolis, MD) lives and works in New York, NY. He holds a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD. Selected exhibitions include Antoine Levi, Paris, France (solo); Matisse + Fratino, Cabinet Printemps, Düsseldorf (both 2018); Thierry Goldberg, New York, NY (solo); Monya Rowe Gallery, Saint-Augustine, FL (solo); Practice in Leisure, Galería Mascota, Mexico DF (all 2017), and Platform Gallery, Baltimore, MD (solo)(2016).

Ann Hirsch (1985, Baltimore, MD) lives and works in Los Angeles. She holds an MFA from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY; and a BFA from Washington University, St. Louis, MO. Selected exhibitions include Arcadia Missa, London, UK (solo)(2017); the Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, ME (solo); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Boston, MA (solo); Emotional Supply Chains, Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK; Electronic Superhighway, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (all 2016); First Look, New Museum, New York, NY (2015), and Step and Repeat (performance), MOCA, Los Angeles, CA (2014).

Jacolby Satterwhite (1986, Columbia, SC) lives and works in New York. He holds a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Arts, Baltimore, MD; and an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Selected exhibitions include I Was Raised on the Internet curated by Omar Kholeif at the MCA, Chicago, IL (upcoming 2018); Berlin Biennale 9, Berlin; Electronic Superhighway, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (both 2016); Whitney Biennial 2014, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, and When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (both 2014).

Installation photography: Charles Benton.


Heinrich, Will. "Galleries: Design for Living." The New York Times. 15 Jun. 2018: C16.

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