In 2002 Andrea Zittel’s was commissioned to produce a work for exhibit at the Milwaukee Museum of Art, the commission was to make an addition of twelve pieces titled which she titles “AZ Wagon Station”. Design development and fabrication was contracted to HPI. Although initially exhibited at the Museum, her ultimate goal was to place them on her land in Joshua Tree, California. Zittel’s concept drew inspiration from covered wagon and station wagon, two modes of transportation that she saw as critical to the construction of the American West.
As HPI collaborated with the artist it became clear that the project was ultimately driven by cost. How ever Zittel’s idea called for a design that even after exhausting value engineering was too costly for the museums budget, so HPI negotiated for one of the pieces in the addition. This gave Hauptman an interesting stake in project in both artistic and economic manner. Because to own one Hauptman would agreed to further collaboration through customization the piece he would than own. Of course the value of the piece of art traded on its original origin as Andrea’s expression however as a designer trained as an artist Hauptman felt it necessary that the customization speak his role- not simply a mute craftsperson–but rather an active designer.
The work traded on issues of identity, acting as a critical reproduction in conversation with the original objects. The new version was an axonometric explosion of the given components. The exploded form was enclosed through adding custom shaped polygon frame and infill panels one at a time. The resultant form provided opportunities for increased functionality with in the already quasi functional piece of Art. A porch stoop, a second sleeping area, additional storage, a custom made wood stove, a writing desk, windows and a skylight answered the opportunities presented by the larger spatial volume.
In 2006 this collaborative work was incorporated into Zittel’s solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum. The title of the show was “Small Liberties.”