Whitney Biennial 2017

Solo en Inglès


A couch and chair.

Jessi Reaves (b. 1986), Chenille Couch After Ruhlmann, 2017 and Bucket Chair with Covers, 2017. Couch: steel, paint, polyurethane upholstery foam, chenille, velvet, wood, and hardware; Chair: Wood, metal frame, sawdust, wood glue, foam, ink on polyurethane foam painted by Sophie Stone, coated woven sisal, leather, silk, polyester, and thread. Collection of the Artist; courtesy Bridget Donahue, N.Y.


Jessi Reaves: I’m Jessi Reaves.

I kind of fell into doing upholstery when I moved to New York. I have always been sewing my whole life, so it seemed like this practical application of sewing. That's really what this work grew out of, both materially and just being around people who really considered themselves designers and thinking about what they valued and what they thought was experimental, new, or exciting. I was always just always so disappointed by that. I felt like there was so much more to add to the conversation than just repeating, for example, basically repeating or making a new version of a mid-century chair. Even just the idea of making something iconic was never that interesting to me. I would rather have something that has these bizarre qualities, that's one of a kind. How does that change the idea of functionality?

The idea for this piece was really for the Museum, thinking about the nature of the furniture that is in the Museum. I had visited and seen all the furniture—it’s this gray color and it's really meant to disappear. I just wanted to make something that was not neutral that actually had its own identity and energy but could also function in the Museum as a place to sit and view other artworks.


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