For nearly sixty years, Richard Artschwager made sculpture
, paintings, and drawings that challenge how we see and understand the world around us. In his early years as an artist, he said that he wanted to produce “useless objects”—art that would make us look at and think about familiar objects in new ways. Many of his sculptures, such as Description of Table
(1964), are inspired by household furniture. Artschwager covered this sculpture with Formica, an inexpensive, thin, flat plastic that is often used for countertops and which is frequently treated to look like wood, stone, or other more costly materials. For this work, he chose Formica with a fake wood pattern to represent the table because it creates the illusion
of the texture
that you would expect to find on a real wooden table. In this way, Artschwager blurred the differences between painting and sculpture and between reality and depiction.