The question most frequently asked about the GALLERY OF FUNCTIONAL ART is "Is it a museum?" Despite the fact that all the objects exhibited here are either one-of-a-kind or limited editions, the answer is "no." Every object on display is available for purchase. With a rotating schedule that changes every two months, the gallery annually mounts six theme shows, solo shows, and group shows, each one with a different focus.
At the GALLERY OF FUNCTIONAL ART--also known as GFA-- the terms functional art and art furniture are used interchangeably to denote objects ranging from tables and chairs, to beds, sofas, lighting, screens, dressers, and even bathroom fixtures. Running the gamut from folk to fantasy, from comfortable to conceptual, and from baroque to minimalist, these inspired creations are the work of artists, architects, designers, and craftsmen from every part of the United States and many foreign countries. Not only do they all have highly individualistic interpretations of furniture, but they are also attracted to such diverse materials as wood, glass, plaster, plastics, papers, concrete, metals—even feathers. Concurrent with each show, GFA also exhibits smaller functional art objects from jewelry and watches to flatware, candlesticks, ceramics, and glass.
In the twenty years since the gallery opened, GFA director Lois Lambert has become an international authority on functional art, and the gallery has won widespread recognition as one of the major resources for work of this kind. At any given moment, though, the objects on display are only the tip of the iceberg. Lambert maintains a slide registry of work by hundreds of artists and is happy to help clients commission pieces designed expressly for them. Another service she offers is assisting clients in integrating art furniture into their homes and businesses.
As many collectors have discovered, functional art is still an enormous value—perhaps the best buy in the art world today. In many cases a handmade, personally commissioned piece will sell for the same price as one that is mass-produced. A crusader at heart, Lambert calls functional art “the underdog of the art world. I want to show people that this blend of fine art, craft, and function is an authentic artistic expression.”
The place where art and furniture come together” is how Metropolitan Home describes GFA. It is also the place where a generous dose of fun brightens a challenging mix of form and function.