A new exhibit at SFMOMA titled Conversation Pieces: Contemporary Furniture in Dialogue explores contemporary cultural issues through furniture design. The exhibition features over 40 works of contemporary furniture from the SFMOMA collection. The creative and often surprising works delve into topics such as social identity, environmental sustainability, and historical narrative.
The pieces on display are familiar in function but range from playful to jarring in appearance. Some of the works include a hanging light of knitted electrical wire, a rocking chair made of 3-D recycled plastic, and a chair celebrating Black identity. The exhibition also includes audio from interviews with six designers whose work is on view.
Visitors are met with moody lighting and plush benches which are set at the same height as the works on display. This small but impactful detail gives the exhibit a comfortable and familiar feel. It’s a playful nod to how we typically view and interact with furniture.
The show is drawn entirely from SFMOMA’s collection and features work by a diverse spectrum of artists, designers, and architects. The works on view prioritize meaning and material choice over functionality and style. The exhibit brings furniture from the background to the foreground and serves as an excellent conversation starter.
Conversation Pieces will be on display at SFMOMA until June 25, 2023. Visit SFMOMA at 151 3rd St., San Francisco.