Christopher Farr has been at the forefront of contemporary rug design for more than a quarter of a century. The company’s roll call of collaborators includes some of the art and design world’s biggest names (think Gary Hume, Andrée Putman and John Pawson, to name-drop but three), and the eponymous founder and his business partner Matthew Bourne have made the exploration of new techniques and innovative methods their life’s work.
The most recent result of that mission can be seen at two concurrent shows opening in Los Angeles on Saturday June 13. The first, titled The Afghan Carpet Project, is at the city’s Hammer Museum. A collaboration between Christopher Farr and the non-profit organisation AfghanMade, it features rugs by five LA-based female artists, created in response to a trip they all made in 2014 to meet weavers in Kabul and Bamiyan. Jennifer Guidi’s Blue Burqa (price on request, second picture), for example, is a take on her style of playing with repetitive marks, this time with an object or shape that links to Afghanistan – the burqa. Lisa Anne Auerbach’s Unswept Rug (price on request, third picture) is a witty – and decorative – trompe l’oeil depicting discarded food scraps and other waste. Profits from the sale of these rugs will go to Arzu Studio Hope, an organisation that provides fair wages, education and healthcare for Afghan women.
The second show, Straight from Milan, which runs at Christopher Farr’s LA gallery, demonstrates the company’s commitment both to the AfghanMade project and to weaving as a serious art form. Launched during DesignJunction at the Salone del Mobile in Milan (hence the title) earlier this year, the show reveals the creative extent of contemporary rug weaving. Highlights include the show-stealing Platonism (£4,800, first picture) by dynamic designers GamFratesi and an exquisite, painterly rug depicting the vast urban decay of Palais de Tokyo by Fredrikson Stallard (price on request, fourth picture).
Beautiful, skilful and with a social benefit too, these shows are not to be missed.