Two-Part Chairs, Right Angle Version (a Pair)
Burton first earned a reputation with performance and installation work in the 1970s. His "Two-Part Chairs, Right Angle Version (a Pair)," 1983-87, represent his concept of furniture as sculpture, which evolved out of his need for settings for his "behavioral tableaux" where actors were involved in staged confrontations. From his use of conventional household furniture as well as modern furniture design, he evolved to rock carved chairs and interlocking granite chairs reminiscent of minimalist sculpture. Known for transforming the idea of public art, Burton integrated functional design into fine art. As guardian figures of the front entrance to Haggard Hall, the chairs share the hierarchical space with the Native American totem (Lummi Nation) on the formal staircase leading to the university's library.