The Art of Seating: Two Hundred Years of American Design opens on February 9

DOYLESTOWN, PA – Beginning February 9, 2019, the James A. Michener Art Museum will present The Art of Seating: Two Hundred Years of American Design, a major exhibition showcasing a comprehensive private collection of iconic and historic chairs reaching from the 1800s to today’s Studio Movement. Developed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville and organized for tour by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C, these works of art have compelling stories to tell about our national history, the evolution of American design, and incredible artistry and craftsmanship. The exhibition will be on view through May 5, 2019.

Most chairs encountered throughout the day define themselves fairly simply—a place at the family table, a comfortable spot with a great view, a seat of corporate power. When looking at the more than 40 chairs selected for The Art of Seating: Two Hundred Years of American Design, however, there is much more to see than simple pieces of furniture. The Art of Seating provides audiences with a unique opportunity to see chair types that usually reside in private homes, withheld from public display.

Organized by Ben Thompson, curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, The Art of Seating takes the viewer into the design studio through patent drawings, documented upholstery, artist renderings, and multimedia presentations. Selections from the Jacobsen Collection of American Art offer a stylistic journey in furniture with showstoppers by John Henry Belter, George Hunzinger, the Herter Brothers, the Stickley Brothers, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Isamu Noguchi, Frank Gehry, and others waiting to be discovered. The exhibition also features contemporary and historic designs produced by such manufacturers as Knoll, Herman Miller, and Steelcase.

Also on view from March 2 – June 9, 2019 is Nakashima Looks: Studio Furniture at the Michener, guest curated by Mira Nakashima-Yarnall, daughter of internationally renowned woodworker George Nakashima and president of George Nakashima Woodworkers, SA. Rooted in the museum’s deep commitment to George Nakashima’s legacy, the Michener has continued to collect and exhibit modern and contemporary craft, including fine examples of Mira Nakashima’s own work alongside those of her father. Nakashima Looks highlights the Michener’s long-standing focus on Studio Furniture, while providing a window to the museum’s future direction.

“Presenting two such remarkable exhibitions simultaneously gives the Michener a dynamic platform from which to explore—and expand upon—the role that the Bucks County region holds in the history of American design,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, executive director of the Michener Art Museum. “The early 1900s were pivotal in establishing this region as one of the cultural hubs of the studio craft movement; craftspeople like Frederick Harer, George Nakashima, Paul Evans, and Phillip Lloyd Powell brought international attention to the work being produced here. Nakashima Looks will shed new light on works in the Michener’s permanent collection, using them to both enhance and elucidate the history on display in The Art of Seating.”

The Art of Seating: Two Hundred Years of American Design is generously supported by Visit Bucks County and Tom and Alycia Scannapieco. Additional support is provided by Barbara Donnelly Bentivoglio and Dr. Lamberto Bentivoglio, EwingCole, and Jane M. Yeuroukis, Inc., Interior Designs.

The Art of Seating is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, in collaboration with the Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen Ph.D. Foundation and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C.

Exhibition and programming-related information can be found at MichenerArtMuseum.org.

 


 

The James A. Michener Art Museum collects, preserves, interprets and exhibits American art, and promotes the work of nationally and internationally known Delaware Valley artists of all eras and creative disciplines. The museum presents exhibitions that explore a variety of artistic expressions and offers diverse educational programs that develop a lifelong involvement in the arts. Throughout the year, the Michener Art Museum hosts a wide range of programs open to the public, including lectures, artists conversations, gallery talks, artist studio tours, dance performances, jazz and other musical performances, family-themed activities, and other events. The museum also offers a diverse selection of art classes for children and adults, which include instruction in drawing, painting, sculpting, and printmaking as well as programs for the public, schools, and teachers designed to support arts and STEAM education. The James A. Michener Art Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

The Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine St., Doylestown, PA. The Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm; Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday noon – 5:00 pm. For more information, visit MichenerArtMuseum.org or call 215.340.9800.

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, a private non-profit visual arts educational institution and cultural resource of the University of North Florida, serves the community and its visitors through exhibitions, collections, educational programs and publications designed to enhance an understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art with particular emphasis on works created from 1960 to the present.

The American Chair Collection started as a way to provide further context to the Jacobsen Collection of American Art—paintings, sculpture, silver and furniture which were acquired during the early 1990s. With the help of Andrew Van Styn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography, the creation of the chair collection began with the purchase of an Egyptian Revival Side Chair and has since blossomed to the more than 40 works on display in this exhibition.

International Arts & Artists in Washington, DC is a non-profit arts service organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally through exhibitions, programs, and services to artists, arts institutions, and the public. Visit www.artsandartists.org