Richard Artschwager made Description of Table
from a simple plywood cube. Instead of using real wood and cloth to portray his subject, Artschwager covered the cube with flat pieces of Formica—he used white for the tablecloth, brown with a fake wood grain pattern for the table, and black for the space underneath the table. Formica is used mostly to cover countertops, cupboard doors, and other household and office furniture. This sculpture
looks like a table, but imagine what would happen if you tried to sit down at it!
Artschwager once described Formica as “the great ugly material, the horror of the age,” but he chose it because of its trompe l’oeil surface patterns, which create the illusion of three-dimensional textures
on a smooth, flat surface. When you look at this sculpture, each of the five sides of the cube has the appearance of a two-dimensional
picture. Even the title of this sculpture tells us exactly what it is—a description of a table rather than a real table that you could sit at comfortably.