Past Exhibition

This is not a chair.

Member Preview: Saturday, February 3, 5-6 pm

Public Opening: Saturday, February 3, 6-9 pm

Art Walks, 6-9 pm: February 3, March 2, April 6

If a tree falls in the forest, is it a chair?

The Claremont Lewis Museum of Art exhibition This is not a chair. will present a broad range of artists and approaches to the icon of human creative production that is the chair. Drawing inspiration from Rene Magritte’s painting The Treachery of Images which placed the statement “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.” (This is not a pipe.) under a painted representation of a pipe, This is not a chair. will similarly explore the gray area between object and concept, language and meaning. This liminal space has provided fertile ground for artists to explore and challenge the framework for concept development. Through their experimentations, language’s illusion of stability starts to look like a two-legged stool. The exhibition begs the question: What is a chair?

Blurring lines between art and design, between functional and “art for art’s sake,” has a long tradition in Claremont and the Pomona Valley. In the post World War II period, artists Paul Soldner, James Hueter and Sam Maloof designed and built their own homes. Millard Sheets’ 1954 exhibition The Arts of Daily Living at the Los Angeles County Fair presented the domestic interior as a space for cutting edge art and design. Maloof insisted on being called a woodworker, not an artist. But when a Maloof chair is exhibited on a pedestal in a museum, how can one not see it as sculpture? 

The exhibition is sponsored by Tom and Toni Bostick with additional funding from Charlotte Resch, and Fritz and Mary Weis. This is not a chair. will remain on view through April 21, 2024. 


This group exhibition, curated by CLMA’s Associate Director of Exhibitions and Collections Seth Pringle, will include a wide range of interpretations, from the 1960s to the present, of what it means to be a chair. A chair can be something you sit on, or a representation of such a functional object. But it can also be so much more: a repository of cultural narrative, a catalyst for social interaction or a conceptual work of art. This is not a chair. seeks to position the chair in an expansive dialogue between art, form and function.

Over 20 artists will be represented in this exhibition including:

Curator Discusses the Idea of Chair-ness
James Scarborough recently interviewed Curator Seth Pringle in the online arts magazine “What the Butler Saw”. Read the full Interview.

Program asks “Is this a chair?”
Exhibition Curator Seth Pringle gives a presentation to the Scripps Fine Arts Foundation on February 14, 2024