Jan 27, 2022 - Mar 5, 2022

60 Lispenard Street

P: 212 925 4631

New York, NY

Ryan Preciado: A Cliff to Climb


Installation view of Ryan Preciado A Cliff to Climb

“I like moving, not being stuck in one place,” Ryan tells me. He spends most of his time on the Eastside, where he was born, though he grew up in Nipomo. Ryan describes his sculptures and furniture designs as “drawing with wood and metal.” He tells me about a recent piece, co-authored you might say, with car sensibilities. It’s a cabinet he designed at his friend José’s autobody shop in Boyle Heights. It’s an active shop and the cabinet is evidence of that variety of “chaos” Ryan says. “José constantly had cars coming in and out which meant I had to move around twenty times or so. I was chasing that high-gloss finish and still, there are imperfections. There’s something about that I like though.” As Ryan is describing the cabinet to me over the phone, he witnesses an accident. “A guy just crunched his car,” he tells me. “He hit a telephone pole and left.” I ask if the guy seems okay and Ryan says yes. A minute or so later, Ryan sees the driver again. He’s pulled over on the side of the street, examining his car, a little bewildered as to what just occurred. I’m picturing the driver’s state of surprise, as observed by Ryan and recounted to me, nearly three thousand miles away. 

Ryan considers himself a deeply curious person. “Part of what I do is just stare at things, not even questioning why. I take photos of, like, the grip of a hammer, everyday objects, you know? It’s exciting when a bent trashcan turns into an idea.” I wonder if the pole that “crunched” the car will provide a point of entry for Ryan and I start imagining what kind of idea might pass into being and become his next design. Mostly, though, I’m just thinking about the word crunched, how it sounds regional—faithful to a place where cars rule. Slam, I figure, simply wouldn’t suit. Not on Ryan’s coast anyways.

In no particular order, here are other things that inspire Ryan: lowriders; misremembered lyrics; his Chumash heritage; the Pope’s mitre (which Ryan says gave way to one of his keyhole-shaped cabinet designs); the guys and their trucks in Huntington Park who Ryan loves to watch “tie things down;” chicken feet; caution tape made to look like birthday ribbon on broken glass; murals of the Virgin of Guadalupe; a photograph from his childhood of Ryan and his mother rollerblading at an indoor rink. She’s smiling with her arms wide open. You can see Ryan in a yellow jersey not far behind her, catching up. The photograph is joyful, approximating infinity. Ryan, it turns out, has sketched a shelf born of that same ecstasy. I soon learn that Ryan’s family often enters the picture.  

(Excerpt by Durga Chew-Bose from a forthcoming publication accompanying the exhibition.)

Ryan Preciado (b. 1989, El Monte, Los Angeles) lives and works in Los Angeles. A furniture designer trained in carpentry, Preciado has used wood in one way or another for the last twelve years. His work is inspired by his family history of Chumash, Native American and Mexican heritage. Fueled by an ongoing relationship to the violence of assimilation in the United States, Preciado curated “Downhearted Duckling" at the South Willard Gallery in Los Angeles featuring Diana Yesenia Alvarado, Mario Ayala, Rafa Esparza, Magdalena Suarez Frimkess, and Alfonso Gonzalez Jr. A Cliff to Climb is Preciado’s first gallery exhibition. 


Installation view of Ryan Preciado A Cliff to Climb


Sun, 2021
Steel, lacquer
ø 35 3/4 in. 

Ira Shelf, 2021
Plywood, MDF, aluminum veneer
68 × 60 × 15 1/2 in. 

Prado Table, 2021
White oak, Chumash stone
28 × 21 1/2 × 21 1/2 in.

Untitled, 2021
White oak
33 1/4 × 28  × 20 1/2 in. 

Pope Cabinet, 2021
Plywood, MDF, urethane enamel
70 × 48 5/8 × 20 5/8 in. 


Nipomo Lamp, 2021
Poplar, glass, urethane enamel, lighting hardware
74 inches ø 15 ½ in.

Snow White and the Seven Drawers, 2020
Plywood, found veneer, lacquer
75 ¾ × 27 ⅜ × 25 ½ in.


Nipomo Chair, 2021
White oak, Raf Simons Kvadrat fabric
30 × 35 × 32 in.


Nipomo Lamp, 2021
White oak
60 inches ø 15 ½ inches

Room Divider, 2021
Plywood, lacquer
71 × 36 ¼ × 36 ¼ inches (quantity of 3)

Chumash Chair, 2021
White oak, vegetable tanned leather
33 1/4 × 28 × 20 1/2 in. 


Nipomo Sofa, 2021
White oak, Raf Simmons Kvadrat Fabric
31 × 78 × 37 in. 


Wrapped Chair, 2021
White oak, cotton webbing
35 × 17 × 21 in. 


Wrapped Chair, 2021
White oak, cotton webbing
35 × 17 × 21 in. 


Thorn Lamp, 2021
Steel, polymer resin powder coating
49 3/4 × 13 × 13 in. 

Selected Works

Dream SpeakRachel Eulena Williams

ZzyzxChristina Sucgang

HomesickSadie Laska

Promised LightLuke Murphy

ReadersKiyoshi Tsuchiya

ComeCloseJoan Snyder

NocturnesAnke Weyer

Arms and the SeaKatherine Bradford

Objet OuttaKen Resseger

Last LandscapesGerald Ferguson

Leroy's LuncheonAzikiwe Mohammed

Frisson CityLee Relvas

Reassembler 3Brian Belott

A Ball is for ThrowingElizabeth McIntosh

Ambient MusicLee Mary Manning

TORSOAnnabeth Marks

BiscuitLyric Shen

Body ForthMatt Connors

A Cliff to ClimbRyan Preciado

Library of a DreamRobert Janitz

Gold GoldRJ Messineo

On ValentinesSpencer Lewis

Who is afraid of Natasha?Joanna Malinowska & CT Jasper

USMichael Mahalchick


The Thick StreamGroup Exhibition

5 SeasonsJason Fox

Mother PaintingsKatherine Bradford

Ceramics and PrintsElisabeth Kley

Black Femme: Sovereign of WAP and the Virtual Realm curated by Christiana Ine-Kimba Boyle

#VayaConDiosKatherine Bernhardt

DrawingsJason Fox

Heart, HeartAnke Weyer

Tracing MemoryRachel Eulena Williams

Rayos De SombraRobert Janitz

GorpTyson Reeder

EREHWONSadie Laska