In Jonathan Schipper’s “Slow Room” installation, cables and pulleys gradually draw the pieces in a room closer together until (see next photo)... Edward C. Robison III
In Jonathan Schipper’s “Slow Room” installation, cables and pulleys gradually draw the pieces in a room closer together until (see next photo)... Edward C. Robison III

Lawrence Toppman

The Mint Museum wants to smash your furniture

March 17, 2017 06:56 PM

UPDATED March 21, 2017 03:08 PM

Haven’t you always wanted to be part of a cool piece of performance art. No? Well, maybe your furniture has, especially those old pieces that have hung around since Grandma’s day to fulfill their destiny. We’ll wait while you ask them....

Now that you’re back, here’s the deal. On April 22, the Mint Museum will open an uptown exhibition called “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now.” It’s on loan from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and includes more than 70 pieces. One of them, “Slow Room,” is an installation your suicidal sofa may want to know about.

Brooklyn-based artist Jonathan Schipper constructs environments meant to mimic “grandmother's living room,” then slowly compresses them over the exhibition’s four-month run. Each object gets tethered to a hidden winch, which subtly pulls them toward the back of the room every day. Among other things, it’s a reflection (seen through household objects) of the way time catches up with us all.

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The Mint is working with Schipper to find furniture and household goods for the installation. Adam Justice, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art, has been scouring area thrift stores but has also put out a call to the public for “pieces of unwanted furniture or furnishings you would just like to watch gradually destroyed (and) are willing to donate to the cause...Aside from larger pieces, we also need lamps, vases, clocks, rugs, framed pictures, mirrors, etc.” (No guarantee Schipper will choose these, but Justice will put the pictures you send him in the database he gives the artist.)

If you want to torture a table or deal death to a divan, e-mail slowroomdonations@mintmuseum.org and attach a photo of the object to be squashed. You have until April 3 to get a leg up – a broken table leg, that is – on this project.

Toppman: 704-358-5232