The Austin Chronicle

Arts Review

Reviewed by Rachel Koper, February 27, 2009, Arts


At IF+D, you'll find a range of art, furniture, and other stuff you might want. This shop in the 2nd Street District is the brainchild of Kristen Bolling, who pores over catalogs and websites and sets a nicely irreverent, humorous tone. The website says aptly: "Furniture, gifts, sarcasm, and sometimes lemonade." IF+D redecorates its walls every couple of months and periodically hosts art events in the evening. During South by Southwest, it will feature an array of poster art by locals such as Satch Grimley. This multipurpose space is well curated, with plenty of couches and shelves, as well as knit snail plushies, plastic manga figures, and pillows embroidered with pickup trucks. With all the odd objects and local art on hand, this shop might have as much in common with the quirky Domy Books as with other furniture stores.

If "urban humor" is a classification, then items such as the glowing plastic pigeon lamps and the dishes made by Lovegrove & Repucci out of Brooklyn fit the bill. The white porcelain dishes are decorated with cobalt-blue graffiti hand styles, successfully combining a delft tea set with 1980s NYC subway art. They are just plain funny. Non Fiction Design, an Ohio collective, has been working with rat silhouettes cut out of flocked wallpaper. This could be a reference to the street artist Banksy or just a reaction to an infestation. Non Fiction Design also makes cool terra-cotta lamps that are shaped like bricks and are stamped on the sides with a found object on top and marbles for feet. They are a great balance of the familiar and the customized.

IF+D also carries one-of-a-kind pieces, such as the abstract mixed-media works by Renee Norman. These contain a lot of white; some of them resemble stacks of lozenges or imaginary buildings. In any case, they sure look fresh and clean with midcentury modern furniture. Bolling said she hung them this month in honor of "Birth of the Cool," the Blanton Museum of Art's exhibition about Fifties modernism. This sounds timely and smart to me.

I enjoyed the contrast in style in the photographs of Austinite Aaron Geiser.

Papr is a moody portrait of a man at night standing in front of his Airstream trailer and holding a bag of ice. Others feature trapeze artists, circus clowns, and other carny types. One has a shirtless, tattooed pirate man with maps and a sword in a wood-paneled room. The photographs are shot with a slow exposure and distinctly dramatic lighting. They are theatrical and narrative, quite complicated when compared to the slick conceptual humor of other shop items.

So IF+D is a good gallery, with a deep vision of the role of art and laughter in your home. Couch sales aren't so funny and clever and unique, so the gallery has some fun with the rest of the inventory. The IF+D business card declares, "We hate kittens," but don't be scared. That's a joke.

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