OBJCT is about to embark on an exciting journey. Founded in 2008 by David Shearer as an interactive gallery concept that addresses the intersection between art and design, OBJCT has successfully brought new scholarship to this evolving landscape.
Merging art and industry with educational programming is Shearer’s forte. Having established, in 1994, the seminal Totem Design in New York City, where for ten years he introduced new artists and designers to the US market, produced groundbreaking exhibitions, created publications, directed documentaries and consulted with museums and other institutions to generate educational programs that not only enlightened viewers, but addressed the faltering dichotomy that lays at the intersection of art and design.
OBJCT Gallery will be restructuring its present format to enable Shearer to launch OBJCT Art + Design. Combining his talents, decades of experience, and wide array of interests, the new Consultancy will provide a fully integrated conduit under which all aspects of design can flourish:
OBJCT will maintain a retail gallery presence in a 2,000 sf space located at 1308 Monte Vista Ave. Unit #8 in Upland's College Business Park. Shearer will launch OBJCT Art + Design’s first project, OBJCT Magazine, a quarterly publication dedicated to the exploration of the designed objects around us.
Other projects in the works include exhibitions, book projects, documentary films and educational programs. If you or your company has a project that could use our innovative eye, please contact David Shearer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (909) 303-3333 for a media kit.
Look for the first issue of OBJCT to hit newsstands this summer!
My passion and mission in life has been to promote good design through education and accessibility. In my 35+year professional career I have curated and produced over 100 exhibitions relating to decorative arts, architecture, design and photography. I have worked with many artists, designers, curators, and collectors to achieve the highest level of integrity in both content and presentation. As a design retailer I have utilized educational programming as a marketing technique, to not only attract media coverage, but to ultimately educate the end viewer/user. As a design educator I have conceived and coordinated competitions, seminars, symposia, and documentaries. As an entrepreneur I have established brand identity, created publications and websites. As the director and principal fundraiser for a not-for-profit organization, I have managed projects and secured funding for both exhibitions and the publications that accompanied them.
After studying architecture and design at the University of Minnesota under Case Study House architect Ralph Rapson, I co-founded Geometrie in 1985; a Minneapolis gallery dedicated to twentieth century design. Exhibitions included work by Frank Lloyd Wright, Isamu Noguchi, Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson and I organized the first Philippe Starck exhibition in the US. I then moved to New York in 1990 to manage Modern Age, a contemporary European design store in Manhattan. In 1995 the idea for Totem came about and a conversation that I had with the late Ray Eames provided the name. Ray described the objects she collected as meaningful symbols of a particular person or place, in essence a Totem. Thus Totem (the objects that evoke meaning) was born.
Totem began in 1994 as an agent for select industrial designers and manufacturers and represented or produced products that were distributed to stores such as Crate & Barrel, MoMA Design Store and 200 other retailers nationwide. It was during this time that Totem won several awards at both the NY International Gift Fair and the ICFF for product introductions. The first totemdesign.com website (still active) was launched in 1995 and in 1997 Totem Design Gallery opened in the Tribeca area of New York City, too much critical acclaim as a showcase for new talent from the US and Europe. Organizing groundbreaking shows such as Design UK, Double Dutch, New Czech Design, Swedish Design, Swisspeaks etc. In addition to showing cutting edge European design in New York, I curated and presented US designers at the annual Milan Furniture Fair. Totem was credited by Paola Antonelli in an article for Abitare Magazine as revitalizing the US design scene. In 2000 Totem Gallery opened in Soho, Karim Rashid’s first commercial design commission. With seminal shows addressing the blur between art and design including the first retrospective of Rashid’s work, as well as conceptual excursions by such innovators as Douglas Coupland and Design Raw. It was during this period that I produced DSGN and TOTEM design publications, design documentaries as well as TOTEMTV an ahead of its time online video blog that featured interviews with Marc Newson, Ron Arad and Ingo Maurer among others.
Totem closed its doors in 2003 following an unsuccessful attempt to remain viable after the events of September 11, 2001 that took place only a few blocks from our Tribeca office and principal showroom. I then took over as director of Exhibitions International, a 501c3 not for profit that organized and toured design exhibitions to museums around the world. It was at this time that the Mobile Living exhibition was created as well as several educational initiatives and documentaries. Exhibitions International merged its programs with a like-minded organization in Washington DC in 2005 and I opted to stay in New York and continue working as an independent curator and educator. It was during this time that I organized the Dwell on Design Palm Springs Conference as well as programming for the Center for Architecture, New York as well as a film series for the Vitra Design Museum exhibition, Open House at Art Center Pasadena.
In 2007 I relocated to the Los Angeles area and developed a marketing and fundraising strategy for the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s first annual Buckminster Fuller Challenge. In 2008 I opened OBJCT Gallery in Claremont, CA, a hybrid gallery/museum space that showcases the intersection of art and design exhibiting local and international artists and designers. Exhibitions such as Claremont Modernism (an inspiration for the Huntington Museum’s The House That Sam Built), Technorganic, and Spaceship Earth have featured the work of Ross Lovegrove, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Karl Benjamin, Harrison McIntosh, Charles Hollis Jones, Humberto and Fernando Campana, Johanna Grawunder, R. Buckminster Fuller, Verner Panton and many others.
In 2011 I was hired by the Architecture + Design Museum Los Angeles as Director of Advancement + Business Development, a one-year grant funded position. While at A+D, I established a fundraising plan, created a retail strategy and helped plan fundraising events. Also, in 2011, I was hired by Claremont Heritage as a part-time interim director due to the current director leaving, and the need for someone to run the day-to-day operations while a search was implemented. After several months as interim director, the Board of Directors voted to make it a permanent appointment. In 2012 after closing OBJCT Gallery due to the economy, I became the full-time Executive Director at Claremont Heritage, where I am currently. At Claremont Heritage I am able to create the educational programming, exhibitions, documentaries and publications that are my passion. Now the time has come to relaunch OBJCT and 2021 is the year to do it.
ORGANIZATIONS, BOARDS AND PROJECTS
Past member of Municipal Art Societies Design Initiative Board, and have been a juror for the Accent on Design section of the New York International Gift Show. I am a member of the Society of Architectural Historians, both the National and Southern California Chapters. I have served on the Board of Directors of the Palm Springs Modern Committee and the Architecture and Design Council of the Palm Springs Art Museum. I am actively involved in architectural preservation efforts on both the East and West Coasts. I consulted with Dwell Magazine editors to assemble the list of architects invited to their first Dwell Home Competition. I have curated and organized exhibitions of American design that have traveled to the annual Furniture Fair in Milan, Italy sponsored by Surface Magazine. I Conceived and organized the "Workspace" Design Competition, sponsored by Herman Miller. In addition, I have conducted several design outreach programs for high school kids for the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum’s summer design education program.
“Designers on Design” – 2000 – Documentary interviewing 40 designers from around the world at design fairs in London, Paris, Stockholm, Tokyo, Sao Paolo, New York, Milan etc. Producer.
“CKR” – 2001 – Documentary and publication on Claesson, Koivisto, Rune Design Agency. Top Swedish architecture and design firm that has won numerous awards. Cumulated with an installation and the first retrospective of CKR’s work in the US. Producer, Curator, Writer.
“US Design” – 2002 - Exhibition: consulted with R. Craig Miller, then Design Curator at the Denver Art Museum to coordinate designs from recent American designers to be included in the exhibition, several of which I loaned to the exhibition. Consultant.
“Raymond Loewy Museum of Industrial Design” 2004/5 – Developed proposal to establish a museum of industrial design in Lower Manhattan. Secured $100,000 feasibility study grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Commission (LMDC) which was funded by HUD. Researched and designed site-plan, prepared RFP for museum project, administered RFP and reporting to LMDC and HUD. Consultant.
“Desert Utopia – Mid-century Architecture in Palm Springs” – 2006 – 80-minute Documentary on Palm Springs, CA mid-century modern architecture. Conceived the project and researched the subject matter. Coordinated all production and post-production aspects of creating the film. Raised $100,000 from foundation sources to fund the production of the film. Secured a permissions and rights to archival footage including use of Julius Shulman images and films produced by Albert Frey. Producer.
“Louis Comfort Tiffany – Artist for the Ages” – 2005/6 – exhibition curated by Marilynn A. Johnson for Exhibitions International. Oversaw all aspects of exhibition organization, marketing, traveling, contracts and publications. Secured funding for the exhibition and traveled with the exhibition to four venues: Seattle Art Museum, Toledo Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. Wrote forward to exhibition catalog and oversaw publication design.
“Mobile Living” – May 2006 – Exhibition addressing the current nomadic lifestyle we enjoy. Conceived the exhibition that included both historical and current examples including the realization of future concepts that address the blur between art and design. From a vintage Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome and Adam Kalkin’s Push Button House to prefab homes and mobile living units the exhibition brought this timely phenomenon to the forefront. Presented exhibition at the 20,000 sf Skylight Studios NYC in May 2006 to coincide with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Curator, Organizer. Fundraiser.
“Dwell on Design Palm Springs Conference” – December 2006 – This Dwell on Design Conference focused on the past, present, and future of design and architecture in Palm Springs. Known as a mecca of modern design and boasting one of the highest concentrations of important mid-century modern architecture in the United States, Palm Springs is the perfect location to address issues of preservation, sustainability, and the future of modern living. I conceived, organized and moderated the three-part conference including securing all speakers, conference concept and programming. www.dwell.com
“New Housing Then Film Series”– 2007 – Presented at the Center for Architecture in New York City and again at Art Center College of Design Pasadena during the Vitra Museum exhibition “Open House”. Organizer. www.aiany.org www.artcenter.edu
Documentary Film - Journeyman Architect: The Life and Work of Donald Wexler (2009, Director Jake Gorst, 66 minutes) Producer
Documentary Film - William Krisel, Architect (2010, Director Jake Gorst, 86 minutes) Producer
Documentary Film - The Nature of Modernism: E. Stewart Williams, Architect (2014, Director Jake Gorst, 80 minutes) Producer
Documentary Film - Claremont Modern: The Convergence of Art + Architecture at Mid-century (2016, Director Paul Bockhorst, 80 minutes) Producer
In addition to television appearances on the Wall Street Journal Report, House and Garden Television, House Beautiful Television and A&E. I speak at design conferences and design schools across the US as well as write about design.