Washington, D.C

Susan Cooper

Henri Gallery

During the last decade, the question “Is it craft or is it art?” has been intensely debated. Functionality is often considered the determining factor, craft objects being defined and delimited by their functionality, and art objects belonging to the nonfunctional esthetic realm. Susan Cooper’s exhibition here of eight works, by its very title—“Non-Functional Furniture”—seems an attempt to locate craft objects within the supposedly more prestigious realm of fine art. However, Cooper’s works are not primarily about furniture or functionality. Consider Washington Chair, 1989, and Duet, 1988, a pair of ill-proportioned red chairs with painted blue shadows, odd-sized legs, elongated backs, and trapezoidal seats. In these works, Cooper has created something quirky that certainly looks like furniture; however, because the distortions are not dictated by an exploration of craft materials or the

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