Cristina Grajales Gallery

Chilean artist Sebastian Errazuriz hopes that the 1 percent will enjoy this unusual furniture.

I'm struggling to think of the conceptual opposite of these $2,500 Occupy Wall Street chairs, designed by Chilean artist Sebastian Errazuriz for the posh homes of the 1 percent. A Louis Vuitton-patterned sleeping bag? A bong in the shape of Bernie Madoff's head? It's hard.

Errazuriz, the originator of a host of strange objects from anatomical cutting boards to a handy “Cocaine Slab,” created the plywood folding chairs using text pulled from the angry signs of protesters. Flattened out, they are hangable works of art that recreate one of several spittle-spraying messages – for example, "Kill corporate greed," "Hungry? Eat a banker" and "I'm so angry I made a sign.” (Not making an appearance: "Bring back Crystal Pepsi!") Locked into place, they allow bankers and art collectors to take a load off while sipping VSOP and chatting about rich-people things. Like OWS-inspired furniture, for instance.

Errazuriz wants civil agitators to actually use his furniture. Occupying is much easier, after all, when you have a place to sit. But with a $2,500 price tag per chair, there's not much of a chance of that happening. So Errazuriz has slipped a secondary purpose into the art, which he describes in a statement this way:

“The artist wishes to support the 99% by inviting collectors (representing the 1%) to purchase the complaints as art or furniture, thus introducing the ideas of one group into the homes of another and at the same time getting the rich to support the cause of the 99%.”

As a double-sided mirror the Occupy Chairs also explore the potential for these complaints against the richest one percent to be transformed into glamorous fashionable catch phrases in design-art pieces that celebrate the exclusive luxury market.

While the idea isn't as outrageous as using actual protesters as furniture – that concept will no doubt make the gallery circuit soon – it does have a nice bite. The discerning public seems to think so, too, snapping up a dozen of the chairs on the New York Armory Show's first day. Today, perhaps they are resting near other consumer products inspired by the Occupy movement, such as coffee mugs, earrings and doggie T-shirts.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of a WeWork office building
    Life

    What WeWork’s Demise Could Do to NYC Real Estate

    The troubled coworking company is the largest office tenant in New York City. What happens to the city’s commercial real estate market if it goes under?

  2. Uber Eats worker
    Life

    The Millennial Urban Lifestyle Is About to Get More Expensive

    As WeWork crashes and Uber bleeds cash, the consumer-tech gold rush may be coming to an end.

  3. James Mueller (left) talks to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (right)
    Equity

    South Bend’s Mayoral Election Could Decide More than Pete Buttigieg's Replacement

    Pete Buttigieg's former chief of staff, James Mueller, is vying with a Republican challenger to be the next mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

  4. A man wearing a suit and tie holds an American flag at a naturalization ceremony.
    Life

    The New Geography of American Immigration

    The foreign-born population has declined in U.S. states that voted Democratic in 2016, and increased in states and metros that voted for Trump.

  5. A woman stands in front of a house.
    Life

    How Housing Wealth Transferred From Families to Corporations

    The Great Housing Reset has led to growing numbers of single-family homes shifting from owner-occupied housing to investment vehicles for large corporations.

×