Tools as Art | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian

Tools as Art

Welcome to the Hechinger Collection, where hammers are brittle, saws never get old and wrenches mimic baby birds

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The principal charms of modern art playfulness, wit, ingenuity, love of textures are exemplified in a new book about the Hechinger Collection of tool- and hardware-related art. Entitled Tools as Art (Harry N. Abrams, 1995), the book includes texts by Pete Hamill and John Hechinger, whose hardware-store chain was the inspiration for the 300-piece collection of single tools, tools in clusters, tools artfully depicted or twisted to tickle the fancy and please the eye of the beholder.

Tools and hardware in the Hechinger Collection includes Saw Bird by Mark Blumenstein (gas nozzle, saw and scythe blades), Still Hungry by Arman (bronze-plated wrenches), Zen Saw II by John Mansfield (rock, rice paper, balsa wood), Mr. Goody Two Shoes' Tool Shed by Roy Superior (wood, bone, brass), Paint Can with Brush by Phyllis Yes (mixed media), Chair Maker's Chair by Daniel Mack (mixed media with leather, sugar maple and tools).

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