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A Living Room: Artists Rearrange the Furniture

2nd Floor Gallery

The artists in this exhibition find inspiration in furniture, taking known forms and creating something wholly new. Some become strange creatures. Some are menacing, others fragile. Some evoke comfort. Others are stand-ins for a body, inhabiting a room of living objects speaking back to us of their joy and sorrow.

Furniture tells us something about who we are. They can express our personal style, or our perceived standing in the world. Furniture can also hold memories of people and places. As such, they can become alive, or carry an aura of history with them. Furniture can remind us of the physical body. An empty chair or bed can stand in for the human body. Equally, it can stand for the absence of someone, a reminder of who is no longer there.

Along with the sculptures are a selection of paintings, photographs, drawings and prints where the artist uses furniture as their subject.  All artworks are from the Illinois State Museum Collection. Artists featured are Chris Berti, Jose Chardiet, Glen C. Davies, Ted Halkin, Jin Soo Kim, Robert Middaugh, and Margaret Wharton, with additional artworks by William H. Bengston, Zuleyka Benitez, Lloyd DeGrane, Barbara Karant, Bill O’Donnell, Carolyn Plochmann, Suellen Rocca, Edgar Rupprecht, John Schacht, Flora Schofield, Charles Swedlund, and Susan Wulkowicz.

Installation view of A Living Room with scuptures by Ted Halkin, Jose Chardiet, Chris Berti, and a painting by Carolyn Plochmann (Photo: Dannyl Dolder)

Ted Halkin sculptures: gift of the artist. Jose Chardiet: gift of Jon C. & Judith Liebman. Chris Berti: CDB art-in-architecture property transfer. Carolyn Plochmann: gift of the artist.

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