How will sublime design inspire you?
Just two weeks into this summer’s exhibition, The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design, stories are surfacing about the varied ways design inspires visitors. From prompting life-altering career choices to recalling and making poignant memories, art is powerful.
The exhibition inspired fourth-generation chair caner Brandy Clements to start in 2015 Silver River Center for Chair Caning in Asheville, North Carolina. “It is all still very exciting even though we have made it through our first year of business in the new location and have been working with chairs for 10+ years,” she said. “The chairs never cease to surprise us with their technical nuances, stories, and designs.”
The Art of Seating is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, Florida, in collaboration with the Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen Ph.D. Foundation and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C. Brandy first saw the exhibition at the Reading Public Museum in Pennsylvania in 2014; she recently wrote to the Jacobsen Foundation “to thank you for inspiring me at a critical point in my career.”
“When I look back on that day in 2014, when we stumbled upon The Art of Seating completely by chance on my dear old dad’s birthday, I truly consider it a pivotal point in my life.”
Jeff Eaton, a Woodson Art Museum member who traveled recently from Rhinelander for The Art of Seating members preview reception, was inspired to film his walk through the galleries and produce a brief video overview of the exhibition for his YouTube channel. I met and talked with him at the garden party and discovered that his wife, Mary Kinnunen, had died only weeks before and that the June 3 preview was his first without her. Knowing that context, when I watched the video he shared the day after the reception, the combination of music and tour of empty chair after empty chair brought tears to my eyes.
“YouTube has proved to be a good outlet for me in the past year as things got bad for Mary, and I hope it continues to allow me to channel my thoughts in new ways,” Jeff wrote. “I’m hoping to do more art-oriented videos. One of the things I love about such places as the Woodson is the spark (whether a little tingle or a big jolt) they can give my thinking, influencing my perceptions in unexpected ways.”
Chairs are everywhere. We work, dine, lounge, read, gather to converse, and make memories in them throughout many hours each day. The masterful blend of form, function, and creation elevate some chairs to works of art. Experience via The Art of Seating the varied ways these chairs can inspire you.
As you think about memories associated with chairs, how did the design, materials, or construction enhance your experience? What do you love about your favorite chairs? Recline, consider design in the Design Lounge near the Museum’s main entrance, and pause to draw, jot, and share thoughts about your experiences.
The Art of Seating remains at the Woodson Art Museum through August 28. Visit soon and often to make new memories; who knows how art on view will inspire you.