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Monumental Chair
October 1982 | Brooklyn, New York
Tar over Plywood | H: 120/305 W: 96/244 D: 96/244 (in/cm)
Disposition: Destroyed

This piece was in “The Monument Redefined” show, curated by Frank Shifreen in Brooklyn in the fall of 1982. It occurred during the Senate hearings on Maya Lin’s design for the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the controversy over whether her totally abstract slash into the ground was acceptable. The “Monument Redefined Show” drew distinctions between a “monument” and a “memorial.” This work was intended as a monument to “power, authority, control and inertia” — a symbolic object that was unapproachable and exclusive. The chair was slathered in sticky tar; no one would touch it or climb in it. Some viewers thought it was a monument to the death penalty. One week after the opening, vandals set fire to the piece reducing it to a pile of ash, an unintended but ironically perfect end.

©2022 by Jim Nickel

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