Jessi Reaves

Ottoman with Parked Chairs

Not on view



Plywood, polyurethane upholstery foam, metal, tapestry blankets, silk, cord, thread, and hardware

Overall: 49 × 126 × 94in. (124.5 × 320 × 238.8 cm)

Accession number

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from Allison and Warren B. Kanders in honor of Scott Rothkopf and Jonathan Burnham

Rights and reproductions
© Jessi Reaves


  • Whitney Biennial 2017, Kids

    Jessi Reaves

    Jessi Reaves


    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.

  • Whitney Biennial 2017, Spanish

    Jessi Reaves

    Jessi Reaves


    Jessi Reaves: Soy Jessi Reaves.

    Al mudarme a Nueva York, me interesé, hasta cierto punto, en la tapicería. Toda mi vida cosí; la tapicería se manifestó de pronto como la aplicación práctica de aquella actividad. De allí surgió esta obra en lo material. Además, estar rodeada de personas que se consideraban diseñadoras, me llevó a reflexionar acerca de lo que apreciaban y lo que pensaban que era experimental, nuevo o emocionante. Siempre, siempre, me decepcionó esa actitud. Pensé que había mucho más que añadir al diálogo, no sólo repetir. Repetir, por ejemplo, lo básico, o hacer una nueva versión de una silla de mediados de siglo. La sola idea de hacer algo icónico jamás me interesó. Prefería hacer algo que tuviera cualidades estrafalarias, que fuera único. ¿De qué manera se cambia así la idea de funcionalidad?

    Esta pieza, en realidad, se ideó para el Museo, pensando en la naturaleza del mobiliario que se encuentra en este Museo. Lo había visitado y había visto todo el mobiliario: es de color gris y está diseñado para que desaparezca. Sólo quise hacer algo que no fuera neutral, que tuviera identidad y energía propias, pero que también pudiera funcionar en el Museo como una pieza para sentarse y ver otras obras de arte.

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