Credit Line: Vivian Beer, Current, 2004, steel and auto paint, H. 32 x W. 16 x D. 23 inches, Courtesy of the Thomas H. & Diane DeMell Jacobsen Ph.D Foundation. Photo by David Ramsey.

Can a chair be a work of art? Of course it can! A chair is a type of sculpture that can also have a function. Some of them can be decorative as well. Find the chair, Current, by Vivian Beer, shown in the exhibition, The Art of Seating.

Use the looking questions below to help guide you:

  • Describe what you see.
  • How would you describe its shape or form? Its colors?
  • Describe its texture.
  • What is the material being used to create this work?
  • If you could, would you want to sit in this chair? Why or why not?
  • Does it remind you of anything familiar?
  • What kind of person do you think would use this chair?
  • How do you feel when you look at this chair?
  • If you could give a new title to this work, what would it be?

The artist, Vivian Beer stated, “I wanted this chair to seem as if it had been cut and crushed out of a single sheet of metal. At the same time, I wanted it to feel as fast and clean as water in its silhouette…The balance and the trickery is important.”

Now find another chair in the galleries to compare with Current.

  • What is the name of the artist and the title?
  • What are the similarities between the two chairs?
  • What are the differences?
  • If you were able to sit in one of these chairs, which one would you chose and why?
  • If you could have one of these chairs in your home, which one would you chose and why?

Select another chair in the exhibit that you are drawn to. Take a picture of it on your mobile phone
or do a brief sketch of it. Write down the title and artist. Why do you like this work?

You can also download a copy of this gallery activity here.

To learn more about the exhibition, The Art of Seating, visit our website.