Richard Artschwager, American, Exclamation Point, 1980, Wood, latex paint; 68.6 x 15.2 cm (27 x 6 inches) (first object), Georgianna Sayles Aldrich Fund and Walter H. Kimball Fund 82.180
Richard Artschwager was a scientist and a furniture maker before becoming an artist. Through a witty transformation of material and scale characteristic of Pop Art, his work considers the relationship between art and everyday objects as it explores ideas about both sculpture and furniture. The exaggerated thickness of the chair and table negates their traditional function: the narrow space between the seat and tabletop make it impossible to sit there. Artschwager’s use of Formica® with a simulated wood-grain pattern raises questions about what is real, fake, or a simulation of something else. In the case of his Exclamation Point, Artschwager turns a normally small flat punctuation mark written or printed on a page into an oversized three-dimensional object suspended in space.