Pop Art-Star Andy Warhol rejoiced the aesthetic value of commodities—no manipulation, merely proclaiming its uselessness transformed brillo boxes into Brillo Boxes (1964). Fast-track to today, looking good is just as important for products as it is for mingling Bushwick socialites. The plethora of products, the multiplicity of commodities, wages a war in the name of quality despite quantity. A fine line divides beautiful design and beauty for its own right. In the name of art, the diverging point is its purpose for the people—its useful, or useless-ness.
For contemporary artist Ryan Blackwell, making useful products useless does not denounce their existence, but uplifts their function to the realm of the aesthetic. Blackwell transposes the ubiquitous into the extraordinary in his solo exhibition Deviant Consumerism at Bushwick Coopertive. “Meaning in art is through the material,” Blackwell explained, and through minimal manipulation he is able to uncover the artfulness of commodities.