A Rolling Moss Warrants No Throne

Ay caramba, I haven't even clicked through the article yet, and already my head is going to explode:

Aspiring To The Throne
A growing number of small stores are challenging Murray Moss’s supremacy as the arbiter of design in America.
If the American design world really so feeble that Moss is considered the supreme arbiter, I guess we get what we deserve.

It's true that through inertia, his fussy, museum-style presentation, and his subsequent expansion, Moss has mitigated to some degree his knockoffish origins. But I can't forget.

I was traveling to Amsterdam a lot during the mid-90's, those early, crucial years when Moss was building its own reputation as a design gallery, promoting European designers like the Droog gang. And I came to love a visionary design store on Prinsengracht called Frozen Fountain. Around 1992, when it moved to its current location, Frozen Fountain began curating shows of designers' work, reaching into the deep bench for Dutch design, and featuring work from around Europe as well.

There was literally nothing at Moss that wasn't at Frozen Fountain already, and it stung to reconcile the praises for Moss's incredible innovation with the reality that his entire program was basically bagged up and repotted, like a giant amaryllis bulb, from Amsterdam.

The Times piece buries the lede [I've read it by now, yeah. Just in case it was a takedown in disguise], noting how many dynamic developments of the design world Moss's blinkered incuriousity has missed: American design, sustainable design, furniture under $25,000 design. The most damning quote is from Stefan Lawrence, whose LA store Twentieth dances circles around Moss's vitrine: "And Mr. Lawrence himself, while quick to say that 'Murray Moss is a genius,' added that he had discovered designers that 'Murray hasn’t even heard of.'" Granted, that's a mighty long list.

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: May 10, 2007.

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