*Written by Rita Rodrigues
The Making of Dakota Jackson, the first major museum exhibition and retrospective of work by furniture designer Dakota Jackson, will be on view September 25, through January 18, 2016, at the SCAD Museum of Art. The exhibition explores the life and career of the visionary American designer and includes iconic works from his oeuvre, taking viewers from his first New York City design studio established in 1974 to the present. Jackson’s trajectory as a leading furniture designer began in the bohemian art scene of the late ’60s and ’70s in downtown New York.
He entered the creative sphere as a professional magician, a family trade he learned from his father. From there, his collaborations as a dancer and performer led to an interest in making furniture.
One of his early commissions came from Yoko Ono in 1974: a desk as a gift to her husband, John Lennon, for his 34th birthday. An intricate piece of furniture drawing on the designer’s fascination with illusion, Mr. Jackson was asked by Mrs. Ono to create some of the unique desk features, such as the hidden compartments similar to those of an old Japanese magic box.
As Jackson expanded his practice, his focus shifted toward creating sleeker, more industrial-inspired objects. The series “Deadly Weapons” includes furniture designed and produced as one-of-a-kind works that could be described as functional sculptures. In the late ’70s, he moved his design practice into larger facilities and began using production line manufacturing, increasing the number and reach of his furniture pieces. His seminal pieces epitomizing this philosophy, “Vik-ter Chair” (1991) and “Library Chair” (1991), are included in the exhibition