David Ireland, Bigger Big Chair, 2004-06


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David Ireland, 2004-06.
Painted steel plate. 12 1/2' h. x 6' w. x 12 8" d.

Photo credit: Jesse Sturgis

Western Washington University in partnership with one-half of one percent for art law, Art in Public Places Program, Washington State Arts Commission.


Born and raised in Bellingham (attended Western 1948-50), David Ireland is considered one of the most influential Bay Area artists working in the genres of conceptual and environmental art. Ireland does not make hard fast statements or try to prove a theory. He prefers to pose questions, such as: how can art function? Here, the answer is in the fact that he designates a functional object as art; makes the "club chair" on the edge between abstraction and representation; and changes our experience by enlarging its scale. Generally, a chair is considered the seat of learning and a symbol of aspirations; when monumental, it also stands for distinction and authority. If Ireland's chair is experienced as micro-architecture, then it can represent the building of teachers and the liberal arts. Or, because it is monumental, does it refer to a type of education of the past? Or, is it a sign of the times that we should give more attention to a type of education in a highly specialized world?