Wendell Castle, Veiled in a Dream
Veiled in a Dream, a bronze sculpture by Wendell Castle, is both a striking work of contemporary art and a functional chair. As the father of the American art furniture movement, Castle was the recipient of numerous awards throughout his lifetime, including a Visionaries of the American Craft Movement award and the Modernism Lifetime Achievement Award from the Brooklyn Museum. His work is part of the permanent collections of such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and The Art Institute of Chicago.
Veiled in a Dream comprises three vertical cone-shaped objects resting on each other, and a scooped out oval that serves as the seat. Remarkably, in the absence of legs or other support, the seat appears to be floating, particularly when viewed from a lateral direction, where its discrete welding to one of the cones is completely out of sight. Is this a wink from the artist, a playful reminder that when we dream we are both at rest and disengaged from earthly grounding?
Yet another wink relates to the work’s primary purpose. Is this a museum-quality sculpture that invites us to take a seat, or a beautiful chair with masterful artistry in its design? Then again, perhaps as in a dream, boundaries are blurred and seemingly incompatible elements are quite reasonably complementary.