Furniture as Art: Indiana’s Best Exhibited at the State Museum

Star Chair by Glen Fuller
Star Chair by Glen Fuller

The Indiana State Museum recently celebrated the opening of its latest exhibit, Fearless Furniture. The first of its kind for the museum, this juried collection of fine art furniture featuring artists with an Indiana connection runs through May 25th, 2014.

World-renowned furniture designer Wendy Maruyama served as judge for the exhibition, and spoke at the celebration on October 11th. Ms. Maruyama evaluated each submission through four lenses: well-made, fantasy, embracing technology creatively, and material culture. “Some pieces can be well-made,” stated Ms. Maruyama, “but nothing more, nothing less. They are missing some aesthetic characteristics like proportion in space or beauty in construction. Furniture is like architecture. The elements are the same, and should be treated the same.” Her goal was to create a diverse collection that reflected the strength of talent in all areas of wood working and furniture making.

A window peeking into the minimalist-designed exhibition room greets visitors, providing a home-like scale to the vast space.  Winding your way through the 30-piece collection, the notion of furniture as art becomes quite clear. The superb craftsmanship, the beauty of the materials, and the ingenuity of the designs set these pieces apart from the ordinary.

Vortex Table by Carmel-native Robert Sibley
Vortex Table by Carmel-native Robert Sibley

Indianapolis, Carmel, Bloomington, Valparaiso and Evansville are just a few of the Indiana cities cited in Fearless Furniture. All of the chosen artists have ties to the state, and most reside here. Indiana’s exceptional art and design programs are well represented also by faculty and students from Ball State, Purdue, and The Heron School at IUPUI.

A wide variety of style, function and materials are presented in the 30-piece collection. Intricately-carved traditional dining room chairs are balanced by a chest of drawers shaped out of scrap metal. Benches, grandfather clocks, and tables are crafted from found wood, glass, carbon fiber, and automotive finishes.Gravity and friction are the only things holding a maple chair together. The exhibit will challenge your ideas of furniture, art, craftsmanship and materials.

While a visit to the Indiana State Museum is always worthwhile, the Fearless Furniture exhibition brings a different view of the treasures within Indiana. Click here for more information about the Museum’s exhibits, hours and events.

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