How Does a Chair Become a Work of Art?



Sitting here in my office on my ergonomic Aeron chair, I couldn’t help but wonder: How does a chair become a work of art?  Or does it ever? One criteria might be that it has a name like the Eames chair, named after its designers Charles and Ray Eames and produced by the Herman Miller company. I remember lusting after one of those soft leather beauties, with its own ottoman, for my first home. Later in life, I was dazzled by the Diamond chair, named by the designer Harry Bertoia for the Knoll company. The delicate, graceful shape of the ones I own feel like sculptures in my living room.  So inventive were the utilitarian designs of artists, architects and sculptors that by the Sixties, I became enamored by chairs…the Wassily, the Peacock, the Ant, the Egg.

The passion has continued to this day. So I asked my staff whether we could do a chair show.  What would be our criteria, they asked.  Well, one criteria could be a chair designed by an artist. With that in mind, our team set about uncovering chairs made by artists. Fifty chairs were selected by Curator Amy Kurlander.  Some are funny. Others are elegant. Many are worthy of a place of honor in a living room or in a gallery. All of them stretch our imagination of what a chair can be.  Are they works of art?  I will leave it to the viewer to decide which ones can be elevated beyond their utilitarian purpose to be called a work of art. The Chair Show is on view at ArtsWestchester through October 19. For more info on The Chair Show, visit