Art et Industrie is the new gallery on the Housatonic scene, located on the second floor of the Rubin Mill (420 Park Street). Owner Jordan Schlanger, a well-known jewelry designer, took a long-term lease to present gallery and retail spaces for invitational art shows reaching across the Berkshire region and beyond, focused on sculpture, re-use of found materials, and furniture, as well as lower priced antique industrial collections and home furnishings. Schlanger plans to offer his own new line of sculpture for sale in the gallery, in addition to his ongoing work in jewelry.
“The space of Art et Industrie is huge, and lends itself to several kinds of gallery and retail uses,” Schlanger says. “A lot of my interest from years as both a collector and an artist, is in the forms of Victorian and early 20th Century industrial functional materials, such as table bases and factory furnishings,” he explains, noting that much of his new furniture builds are based partly on re-castings of exceptionally striking cast-iron bases and pedestals he’s gathered over the years. “The high end jewelry business was good to me,” he admits, but, “I’m really excited to be getting back to making different and large form things.” Jordan Schlanger was born in New York into a family of artists, designers, musicians, naturalists, and inventors.
Schlanger, even through his early years, was recognized as a prodigious creative talent. His devotion to the interrelated fields of music, sculpture, and design was manifested at every level of education, forming a unique background for the fine jewelry collections he produced from his New York City studio. His furniture and sculpture interest started in his time enrolled in New York’s Cooper Union School of Art, where he obtained a degree in sculpture.
While producing sculpture installations at Cooper Union, Sclanger also developed a collection of furniture, a collection of porcelain dinnerware, and an ambitious collection of wearable works of art, the latter forming his first representation at the premier gallery for jewelry, Artwear, in 1990. Schlanger’s jewelry work inspired a comprehensive response from the fashion press and relationships with the most prestigious retailers worldwide. His work appeared regularly in magazines such as Vogue and In Style, and he has been photographed and interviewed for Vogue magazine and Women’s Wear Daily, and has appeared live on CNN. His jewelry has been collected by celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Tina Turner, Courtney Love, Joan Collins, Uma Thurman, Halle Berry, Susan Lucci, Jane Pauley, Katie Couric, Judy Bloom, Carol Burnett, Stephen Tyler, Mia Farrow, and Mike Myer, among others. Schlanger’s fine jewelry collections focus on the classic, and, powerfully inspired by nature, he has drawn from his years of sculpture and design to create exquisitely crafted fine jewelry that is meticulously engineered.
“I’ve been itching to get back to working in larger forms,” Schlanger notes, “and with the space and facilities here in Housatonic, I’ll be able to get back to that work.” Of particular interest to Schlanger is the mix of functional and industrial heritage design, with organic forms and reclaimed natural and man-made materials. “”To create and present my work in one of the Housatonic mill structures adjacent to the beautiful river and lovely Berkshire Hills is just about perfect,” says Schlanger. The inaugural show at Art et Industrie, Reclaimed, Reused, Repurposed: Furniture and Furnishings with Found Material, is scheduled to open July 21, 2012.