Pittsburgh Artist Registry

 

500 Grant Street

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Keywords

Granite, Seating, Carnegie International

Artwork Type

Interactive, Permanent, Sculpture



Chairs for Six

1986


Scott Burton



Photo

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Commissioning Entity BNY Mellon
ADA Services This sculpture is intended to be interacted with; one can touch and sit on the chairs. The plaza is wheelchair accessible from Fith Avenue.

The intent behind Scott Burton’s sculpture was to create art that has social meaning. These six chairs invite people, perhaps strangers, to take a seat facing each other and carry on a conversation. This construct echoes Burton’s early work as a performance artist using found furniture to create tableaux.

This sculpture was created for the 1985 Carnegie International, which was curated by John R. Lane and John Caldwell. The sculpture was purchased by Mellon Bank and placed in the plaza at the Grant Street entrance to their building in 1986.  That was no easy task, since each of the seats weighs 1,500 pounds.  Chairs for Six is one of the few sculptures in the BNYMellon art collection, which is reknown for works on paper, English watercolors, and photography.

The New York Times obituary described sculptor Scott Burton (1939-1989) as an artist "whose work balanced stubbornly and elegantly between art and furniture while evolving into a new kind of public sculpture." Burton believed that "art should place itself not in front of, but around, behind, underneath (literally) the audience." As a performance artist, he exhibited shows at the Whitney Museum and the Guggenheim. His sculpture and public art can be found in cities across the United States.