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Toland Grinnell: Pied-a-Terre

Toland Grinnell (American, b. 1969). Pied-a-Terre, 2001. Mixed media construction. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mario Palumbo, 2007.19.1-.18

Pied-a-Terre by Toland Grinnell

July 13, 2007–May 4, 2008

Pied-a-Terre, an installation piece by Brooklyn-born artist Toland Grinnell, explores issues of consumer culture, excess, and luxury. The work originally comprised an apartment for two that folded out into thirty-four hand-crafted matching traveling trunks, each with its own unique function, from master bedroom to kitchen sink. The Brooklyn Museum installation of twenty components includes a stove, a sink, a tableware canteen, a wine rack, and recycling containers. Taken together, the elements of this elaborate sculpture explore the nature of consumerism and the power of excess.

In the work the ordinary necessities of everyday life—beds, sinks, and stoves—are transformed into luxuries when they are taken out of context in the great out-of-doors. Goods that seem rudimentary in the domestic sphere appear opulent at the campsite. Grinnell emphasizes that metamorphosis in the piece, where a host of consumer goods, including seventeen suitcases, are not only assembled to make a compact and portable living environment reminiscent of big-game hunting and Adirondack camps but are also repackaged to reflect the contemporary fascinations with designer label luxury goods, in this case complete with the artist’s gilded “TG” monogram.