As perhaps one of the most ubiquitous design archetypes, one that can make or break a talent’s career, the chair has been reinterpreted over and over again. As both a canvas for the articulation of changing trends and the expression of bold personal or political statements, this typology often represents the complexity of the design medium itself. A few brave souls have even gone so far as to push beyond its essential function and to challenge the conventions of what distinguishes art from design.
Cueing into the rich plethora of content and subsequent fodder this object has engendered, New York gallery R & Company has just opened the Chairs Beyond Right & Wrong show at its White Street location (through October 19). Curated by Raquel Cayre, the force behind the widely recognized Instagram account @ettoresottsass and the 2018 Memphis-inspired Raquel’s Dream House showcase, the group exhibit brings together an eclectic and diverse range of both commissioned and existing pieces by 50 international designers.
Cayre’s curatorial focus looks at how the archetype and its corresponding forms of use and composition have been reconsidered as formal objects, products, structures, symbols, and as a material in its own right. Producing new work for the exhibition, participating talents were invited to explore how these ideas contribute to an expanded notion of the chair while challenging the categorical divisions that often pigeon hole it into marginalized roles. The title of the show references the work of Seth Price, whose interdisciplinary use of diffusion, manipulation, and narrative channel into strategies and arrangements found in the exhibition.