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Tailoring Form

pinkcomma gallery, Boston
April 8–May 15, 2011

What do a Renaissance cathedral and a 1950s finned car have in common? They were both produced using templates, which Webster defines as a “gauge, pattern, or mold used as a guide to the form of a piece being made.”

Tailoring Form, a small but superb exhibition, includes a wide range of templates, increasingly scarce artifacts in an age of digital design and production.

Filippo Brunelleschi used full-size wood templates to produce the massive stone ribs of the dome of the Florence cathedral. General Motors designers spent weeks using curved rulers and clay to shape the swooping surfaces of the Firebird III concept car. Other exhibition items explore how airplane, boat, and even dress design are all beholden to the template. The curators, Natalie Fizer and Glen Forley of New York, insist the template be celebrated in and of itself.

Bravo, Fizer, Forley, and pinkcomma. Tailoring Form is really a homage to the ingenuity, patience, and sweat that was design in the precomputer age.