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Michael Coffey

Michael Coffey blurs the line between carpenter and fine art sculptor. A self-taught master with a career nearly forty years in the making, Coffey has consistently broken the boundaries of style and functionality in the decorative arts.

Born and raised in New York City, Coffey initially made a career as a social worker before pursuing art seriously in 1972. Teaching himself theory and practice, he was influenced enormously by the examples made by the likes of Wendell Castle, Walker Reed, George Nakashima, Sam Maloof, and others. In 1978, Coffey first presented his Aphrodite rocking chair, a monumental oblong curved piece of wood which excited the market and solidified Coffey’s reputation for creativity and skill.

Coffey’s work stresses the relationship shared by people with their furniture. Coffey considers himself an artist, but draws a distinction between impersonal visual arts and furnishings. It is important to the artist that his creations can be used.

For Coffey, defying expectations is an important aspect of producing his works. Abandoning symmetry in his designs, the artist prefers to create hollows and rounded shapes which people can fill. To Coffey’s eye, a piece which is perfectly symmetrical is also “quiet,” and does nothing to arouse questions or feelings in the mind of the viewer.

Coffey continues to work in his home studio, making little distinction between his design work and his life. His bold designs are still a fixture on the secondary market, indicating the lasting value of an artist like Coffey’s style of audacious design which tosses tradition aside.

American Fine Art Fair, Palm Beach, FL 2012
Design Miami/Basel, Switzerland 2011
Design Miami, Miami, FL 2010­11
International Contemporary Furniture Fair, NYC 2011
SOFA Chicago, Chicago, IL 2011
Pavilion of Art and Design, NYC 2011
Paris, France 2011
London, England 2009­11
Wright 20, Modern Design, Chicago, III. 2006­09
Solo/Rago, Lambertsville, N.J. 2006­08
Christie's 20th Century Art & Decorative Design, New York, NY ­ 2005­06 Sotheby's, Important 20th Century Design, New York, NY ­ 2003­06
Rago Arts and Auction Center, Lambertsville, NJ ­ 2002­07
Philadelphia Furniture Show, Philadelphia, PA ­ 1995­96
Crafts Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA ­ 1993
Crafts Park Avenue, The Armory, New York, NY ­ 1992­95
Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA ­ 1991
ACC Craft Fair, Baltimore, MD ­ 1989­93
American Craft at the Armory, New York, NY ­ 1987­91
Stratton Arts Festival, Stratton, VT 1979, 1983­84
ACC Craft Fair, W. Springfield, MA ­ 1984­90
Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE ­ 1976, 1983
Northeast Craft Fair at Rhinebeck, NY ­ 1976­83
Bennington Art Museum, Bennington, VT ­ 1982
Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC ­ 1982
St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO ­ 1982
Schenectady Museum, Schenectady, NY ­ 1982
Brockton Art Museum, Brockton, MA ­ 1981
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, Manchester, NH ­ 1978, 1981
Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA ­ 1981
Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York, NY ­ 1980
Philadelphia Craft Show, Philadelphia, PA ­ 1980
International Craft Show, Coliseum, New York, NY ­ 1979
Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, NY ­ 1979
Newport Art Association, Newport, RI ­ 1979
J. M. Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI ­ 1978
Marietta College Crafts National, Marietta, OH ­ 1975­78
Designer Craftsmen Guild, Fort Wayne, IN ­ 1976
Artist Craftsmen of New York, NY ­ 1967–74
American Crafts Council, New York, NY ­ 1972­73
Worcester Craft Center, Worcester, MA ­ 1972­73
University Art Gallery, SUNY at Binghamton, NY ­ 1971
Stamford Museum, Stamford, CT ­ 1970


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