Motor Lodge: An Installation by Dan Funderburgh
The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Art Stairway
Dan Funderburgh, Artist
The automotive icons and detritus scattered here are both litter and artifact. The scene references simultaneously a forensic crash site investigation, an archeological dig, and the rusted springs and hubcaps that lie in every roadside culvert. The American automotive industry has a long tradition of borrowing from Native American culture. Every Pontiac, Winnebago, and Jeep Grand Cherokee seeks to evoke the majesty of a Western expanse they eventually helped to pave and demystify. The hunting paths of the Choctaw became cattle trails and railway lines that evolved into our interstate highway system. These mufflers and cup holders are a legacy we leave for future generations of anthropologists to discover and decipher, to make educated guesses about our diets, travels, ritual, and culture.
Gary Schneider, MAM Director of Education & Project Curator
For his first museum exhibition, artist and wallpaper designer Dan Funderburgh was invited by the Montclair Art Museum to create a site-specific installation in The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Art Stairway that would complement the exhibition Warhol and Cars: American Icons. Much like Warhol, Funderburgh is an artist who straddles the worlds of fine art and design. He is best known for his detailed configurations of utilitarian objects that form dense ornate patterns adorning such diverse media as wallpaper, luggage, furniture, high-heeled shoes, and skateboards.
On his initial site visit, Funderburgh was drawn to the Museum’s extensive Native American collection and began to explore the links between automobiles and tribal names as well as the concept of cultural artifacts from the past and present. As an artist who generally works in patterns that are more structured and symmetrical, the conceptual framework of an archeological dig and the energy and confusion of a car crash created a unique design challenge. The resulting piece is visually engaging, inviting the viewer to look closely and discover its multilayered associations and references.
Dan Funderburgh is a Brooklyn-based illustrator, artist, and wallpaper designer whose creations are rooted in the world of decorative arts. Dan Funderburgh was born in Seattle and reared in the Midwest, eventually receiving a BFA from the University of Kansas with a focus in illustration. After moving to New York in 2001, Dan established a partnership with the now Brooklyn-based wallpaper studio Flavorpaper, where his designs are hand-screen printed. The wallpapers have been featured at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and at Pulse Miami, and are a part of the Cooper-Hewitt's permanent collection. Occasional collaborations with companies like Brooks, Furni, and Gravis have allowed the work to live on bicycle seats, furniture, and luggage. Dan's personal and gallery work includes letterpress and screen prints, sculptures and installations that play off of historical ornamentation. Revealing an acute appreciation for both the baroque and utilitarian, Dan's work often combines the language of ornament with the shapes of tools and household objects. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.