From woven mats to high-tech contemporary designs, PLEASE BE SEATED will tell the story of seating across both culture and time, addressing the never-ending quest to seat people comfortably, appropriately, and fashionably. Drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection and from other institutional and private collections, the exhibition will present wide-ranging examples of seating from many periods and cultures; from woven Japanese mats and simple stools to the manufactured mid-century modern styles by popular American and European designers and beyond.
Rob Sidner, the Musuem’s director and the curator of PLEASE BE SEATED, has included more than 100 objects in the show. Among the objects visitors will find handmade seating of traditional cultures across the globe drawn largely from the Museum’s collection, along with 20th century to contemporary chairs, both factory and hand-made, on loan from a number of museum and private collections.
Throughout the exhibition, Museum visitors will encounter artistic invention in seating that is common and comfortable, traditional, and contemporary and with a dash of the unexpected and quirky. The range of seating examples will include bark cloth next to the ground and rugs, mats, pillows, stools and benches, moving on to both exotic and familiar chairs from pre-industrial societies. Highlighted among the more contemporary seating will be the designs of George Nakashima, Sam Maloof and especially Charles and Ray Eames – likely the most important designers of domestic and office ware in the 20th century.
To celebrate this exhibition, the Museum has launched a social, curatorial experiment on Tumblr. If you have a free moment and a camera, join in!