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. Equity

    The Side Pittsburgh Doesn't Want You to See

    Pittsburgh filmmaker Chris Ivey has spent over twelve years documenting the lives of the people displaced so that the city can achieve its “cool” status.  

  2. Equity

    Seattle Has 5 Big Pieces of Advice for Amazon’s HQ2 Winner

    Being HQ1 has been no picnic.

  3. Design

    The Problem With 'Fast-Casual Architecture'

    Washington, D.C., has a huge new waterfront development that’s fun, popular, and easy on the eyes. Is anything wrong with that?

  4. Construction workers build affordable housing units.
    Equity

    Why Is 'Affordable' Housing So Expensive to Build?

    As costs keep rising, it’s becoming harder and harder for governments to subsidize projects like they’ve done in the past.

  5. Transportation

    If You Drive Less Than 10,000 Miles a Year, You Probably Shouldn't Own a Car

    Up to one-quarter of all U.S. drivers might be better off using ride-sharing services instead.