September 1998
Atelier van Lieshout - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Link to the Atelier van Lieshout Web site

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Atelier van Lieshout
Dutch, established 1995
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly  1998

mixed-media installation
Collection Walker Art Center
Commissioned with funds provided by the Medtronic Foundation. Additional support provided by the Mondriaan Foundation, Judy and Kenneth Dayton Garden Fund, 1998

"People either like the work or hate it. There's no middle ground. It's good, bad, and ugly all at the same time. But whatever you think of it, the work awakens your curiosity, it stimulates the imagination." -Joep van Lieshout

For the past three years Joep van Lieshout (b. 1963) has presented his work under the name "Atelier van Lieshout" to underline his collaborative process. Van Lieshout began making sculpture in the mid 1980s after producing organic and surrealistic furniture as a student at the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts. His sculpture from this period incorporates industrial leftovers, including beer crates, floor tiles, and plastic trash bags. In 1988 van Lieshout pursued furniture-making, but this time in the form of "practical and functional" sculpture. These incredibly popular tables, shelves, bathtubs, and sinks combine industrial standardization with the Atelier's signature use of polyester resin painted with highly artificial colors.

Atelier van Lieshout's interest in producing functional sculpture has expanded to architecture in the last few years. It has produced mobile structures such as offices, homes, and exhibition spaces that are a hybrid of architecture and sculpture. The projects they produce reflect a way of life according to which the Atelier functions daily. This lifestyle parallels the mainstream, yet as a subculture with an interest in underground activities, it proposes an alternative to the status quo. A future project of the Atelier is to establish a self-sufficient community where food can be grown, sculpture made, and life lived.

The Walker Art Center commissioned Atelier van Lieshout to make a mobile unit that will travel to surrounding neighborhoods as a site for hands-on art projects, temporary exhibitions, performances, classes, workshops, and community gatherings. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly is a two-part sculpture with a semi-permanent stationary "house" and a moveable, detachable "trailer." Each part has flexible spaces where various activities might take place. Watch for the mobile unit to roll into your neighborhood!

© 1998 Walker Art Center

The Artwork of the Month is part of the Walker Art Center's "New Definitions/New Audiences" initiative. This museum-wide project to engage visitors in a reexamination of 20th-century art is made possible by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.