In the Armory Modern section of this year’s Armory Art Fair, a work by artist Sebastian Errazuriz has taken the typography of wording of Occupy Wall Street signs and printed them as black lettering onto pristine white folding chairs. The effect was immediately disturbing but the artist’s explanation is more complex and intriguing.

I overheard one woman wanting to buy one for her brother who works in a bank. “Make sure it’s not too much,” her friend told her, obviously referring to the message on the chairs since they were all uniformly priced at $3,500 each. Created in editions of three, these object were displayed alongside photos of their original 99% inspiration.

The following is the artist’s statement explaining the Occupy Chairs series:

Occupy Chairs
Sebastian Errazuriz
Acrylic on Plywood

Each Occupy Chair is a replica of a real sign used by protesters at Occupy Wall Street. Artist Sebastian Errazuriz created Occypy Chairs first as protest sign and fold out furniture to help occupy public spaces.
The second objective of the project is to occupy the homes of the 1% with the message of the 99%.
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 in 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.
Part of the sales of the Occupy Chairs will go to help the occupy [sic] movement.
The artist chose to deliberately not disclose whether he will donate 99 percent of the proceeds, or give into his greed and only donate 1 percent; thus questioning if his own motives will be to support the ideals of the 99% or pursue the wealth and fame of the 1%.

The Armory Show will be at Piers 92 & 94 (Twelfth Avenue at 55th Street, West Side, Manhattan) Thursday, March 8 to Saturday, March 10, noon to 8pm and Sunday, March 11, noon to 7pm.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

3 replies on “Is it Possible to Occupy the Homes of the 1% With Art?”

  1. A clearly-written artist statement that acknowledges the quagmires his work produces.  I’m a fan.

  2.  Commodifying the occupy movement comes as no surprise but to claim that the message will occupy the homes of the rich is hopeful or just a farce. The furniture is palatable and ironic… not really the starting points for the wealthy art world to question itself. And the mystification of whether the artist is trying to help out the movement or get rich himself is really a boring and tiresome dilemma given that there already are wealthy artists who made their fortunes from palatable and ironic work.

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