Academic chair took on a new meaning at Emory this spring with the Chairs Project, a juried exhibition of thirty-seven indoor and outdoor sculptures organized in honor of the opening of the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts.

From the oversized “Swing Set,” by Didi Dunphy, on the Quad (left), to Gregor Turk’s primitive clay “Binary Chair” near the Visual Arts Building, an array of inventive and interpretive chairs was scattered across campus through Commencement.

A circular sculpture of stone, bronze, and steel is named “Evangeline,” for Evangeline T. Papageorge ’29G, the first full-time female professor at Emory’s School of Medicine, who died in 2001 at ninety-four. The artist, Maria Artemis, is Papageorge’s great-niece.

Some of the chairs were inviting, such as Lynne Moody’s “Musical Chair” with attached wind chimes that made gentle music as one settled in. Others, like Amy Landesberg’s “Hard to Find Comfort,” a cone of hammered steel rising to a sharp point, were more thought-provoking.

Elyse Defoor, an Atlanta artist who is also an environmental graphic designer and assistant director in Emory’s University Publications Office, said the vision for her whimsical chairs project came to her in a dream. “Aerial Chaises” comprises twelve white school chairs dangling between the columns over the north entrance to the Schwartz Center, inside the Alston-Loridans Colonnade.

“I liked that they spun,” Defoor said. “When I rounded the corner on Fishburne and looked up, it made me laugh to see them.”

Modeled on similar chair projects in Chicago, Milan, and Oklahoma City, Emory’s Chairs Project was developed by the Visual Arts Program faculty in collaboration with the Steering Committee for the Arts. “The chairs are visual landmarks to celebrate and symbolize this new era of arts on the Emory campus,” said project director Linda Armstrong.—M.J.L.




© 2003 Emory University