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Now ‘Seating’ for six years

January 30, 2017 // by Jane Hamel

As you read this, you're probably sitting down, right? Think for a second about what you're sitting on. Could that chair, bench, or banquette be more than just seating? Could you consider it art?

That's the idea MOCA Jacksonville developed seven years ago for its exhibition called The Art of Seating. Ben Thompson, now MOCA's deputy director, curated the survey of modern chair design, presenting approximately forty chairs from the Jacobsen American Chair Collection. The exhibition challenges visitors to rethink the way they view chairs.

Art of Seating Westmoreland Museum of Art a
The Art of Seating appears at Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in 2012.

Since originating at MOCA Jacksonville in January 2011, The Art of Seating has traveled throughout the United States facilitated by International Arts & Artists:

The Figge Museum of Art
Davenport, Iowa
June 11 - September 4, 2011

The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
Montgomery, Alabama
September 22, 2011 - January 15, 2012

Westmoreland Museum of American Art
Greensburg, Pennsylvania
February 5 - April 8, 2012

Columbia Museum of Art
Columbia, South Carolina
April 27 - August 26, 2012

Academy Art Museum
Easton, Maryland
November 24, 2012 - February 10, 2013

Telfair Museums
Savannah, Georgia
February 28 - May 19, 2013

Royal Alberta Museum
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
June 15 - October 6, 2013

Fullerton Museum Center
Fullerton, California
October 25 - December 22, 2013

Hilliard University Art Museum, University of Louisiana
Lafayette, Louisiana
January 17 - May 9, 2014

Reading Public Museum
Reading, Pennsylvania
May 31 - July 27, 2014

Reynolda House Museum of American Art
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
August 23 - December 31, 2014

The Elliott Museum
Stuart, Florida
February 6 - May 31, 2015

Alyce de Roulet Williamson Art Gallery, Art Center College of Design
Pasadena, California
June 20 - August 15, 2015

The Western Gallery of Western Washington University
Bellingham, Washington
September 28 - November 21, 2015

Fort Wayne Museum of Art
Fort Wayne, Indiana
December 12, 2015 - January 24, 2016

Virginia Historical Society
Richmond, Virginia
February 13 - April 10, 2016

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
Wausau, Wisconsin
June 4 - August 28, 2016

Albany Institute of History and Art
Albany, New York
October 1 - December 31, 2016

Two more locations are planned over the next two years:

Huntsville Museum of Art
Huntsville, Alabama
March 19 - June 18, 2017

Richard H. Driehaus Museum
Chicago, Illinois
February 9 - August 11, 2018

Art of Seating Hilliard University Art Museum a
The Art of Seating appears at the Hilliard University Art Museum at the University of Louisiana in 2014.

At each institution it visited, visitors engaged more directly with the exhibition through special programs, such as working with woodworkers to make miniature chairs at The Woodson Art Museum, guided art activities at The Figge Museum of Art, and Pull up a Chair events at the Albany Institute of History and Art.

The Art of Seating presents a survey of American chair design from the nineteenth century through the present day. The chairs represent important social, economic, political, and cultural influences from designers such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Isamu Noguchi, Harry Bertoia, and Frank Gehry. Its showcase at twenty museums across the country is a testament to its success and importance, as well as general interest among visitors. This exhibition has allowed visitors to reinterpret the world around them, considering an everyday object as more than just merely functional but also as an art form.

When MOCA's self-curated, original exhibitions travel the country, they help spread the reputation of Jacksonville as a strong arts destination. In addition to The Art of Seating, MOCA's exhibition Shared Vision: The Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla Collection of Photography toured to four locations. After it closes on May 14, Hans Hofmann: Works on Paper travels to the Portland Museum of Art in Maine.

Art of Seating Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts a
The Art of Seating appears at The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama in 2012.

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