Scott Burton - Design Evening New York Thursday, December 13, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Dorothy and Lewis Cullman, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, circa 2010

  • Literature

    Ana Maria Torres, Scott Burton, exh. cat., Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, Valencia, 2004, illustrated p. 233

  • Catalogue Essay

    Among the best-known examples of works that bridge the ethereal divide between art and design are the seating sculptures of self-proclaimed “public sculptor” Scott Burton. Aesthetically aligned with Minimalism, Burton’s pieces found influence in the socially utopian ideologies of the international movements of de Stijl, the Bauhaus and Russian Constructivism. Burton sought to democratize art and encouraged the audience’s physical engagement with his creations, and, through a series of collaborations with architects, corporations and private clients, Burton’s goals came to fruition as he secured several commissions for public seating sculptures nationwide. The move made Burton’s work available and accessible to anyone, sat upon and experienced by anyone, and still viewed and elevated as fine artistic output.

    Burton’s seating sculptures were often made from just one single, self-supporting material. While he worked in a variety of materials including granite, steel and wood, from 1980-1981, Burton designed "Aluminum Chair," a sculptural seating design made of sharp-angled aluminum sheet with large perforations—a sort of homage to nineteenth-century and 1930s burgeoning modernist industrial design—and synthesized it into a contemporary object. The present lot, created nearly a decade later, is the result of the refinement of this concept. The pair shown here comprises two sheets of aluminum formed as sinuous ribbons, with smaller perforations to again show the plasticity of the design and suggest movement. The chairs are meant to be both sculptural and functional and reflect and highlight the purpose and beautiful simplicity of the design.

    Burton once quipped: “I want to get some social meaning back into art. And I’d like to help change art into some kind of design.” Achieved in such a short career, the present lot is an excellent manifestation of these aspirations.


Pair of "Perforated Metal Chairs"

Each: 33 1/2 x 24 1/2 x 34 in. (85.1 x 62.2 x 86.4 cm)
From the edition of 5 plus 2 artist's proofs.

$60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $68,750

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Design Evening

New York Auction 13 December 2018