Visitors to the Walker Art Gallery are being encouraged to take a seat to enjoy art. Six unusually-designed chairs have been placed in Room 15 for people to sit on and admire, and I was one of the first to try them out. The installation is titled ‘Sitting On Art’ and the chairs can be freely moved around the room.
Designs include Harry Bertoias’ uncomfortable-looking wire diamond chair (cushions definitely needed for any sustained sitting), Verner Panton’s 1960 blue plastic chair (the first design for a plastic chair that could be made by injection moulding in a single piece) and the 1988 Dr Glob chair by Philippe Starck (which simply has front and back legs of different sizes).
Each design is famous and unique in its own right, reflecting the designers breaking free of the past and using up-to-date techniques and materials, such as tubular steel, plywood and plastics. The chairs are not the date of their design, but quite new. Some are reproductions, others have never gone out of production. That is why they are art you can sit on.
My personal favourite is the blue plastic chair, although I wouldn’t advise any adults to take a seat on its little brother (I foolishly did) which is also on display and clearly designed for children.
Sitting on art is one thing, breaking it is definitely another.