Dutch design in exhibition Conversation Pieces: Contemporary Furniture in Dialogue

20 August 2022 — 25 June 2023
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), 151 Third St, San Francisco, CA 94103 San Francisco

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) presents the exhibition Conversation Pieces – Contemporary Furniture in Dialogue from August 20, 2022 – June 25, 2023. The exhibition brings together more than 40 works of contemporary furniture that delve into contemporary cultural issues such as environmental sustainability, social identity and historical narrative. The works on view are sometimes jarring, often bold and always conversation starters, including a rocking chair of 3-D recycled plastic;a hanging light of knitted electrical wire; and a chair celebrating Black identity. The exhibition includes work by Dutch and Netherlands-based designers Maarten Baas, Nacho Carbonell, Joris Laarman, Marijn van der Poll, Dirk Vander Kooij, and Marcel Wanders.

Conversation Pieces (installation view, SFMOMA); photo: Katherine du Tiel

Sparking dialogue throughout the gallery, Conversation Pieces presents chairs and lamps that surprise and garner attention unapologetically. Drawn entirely from SFMOMA’s collection, the exhibition features work by a diverse spectrum of designers, artists and architects. Moving beyond functionality or style, the works on view prioritize meaning and material choice,bringing furniture from the background to the foreground.

Conversation Pieces (installation view, SFMOMA); photo: Katherine du Tiel

Conversation Pieces grew out of a series of discussions on contemporary design, and the exhibition includes interviews with six designers whose work is on view. Visitors will learn from designers Stephen Burks, Dozie Kanu, Fernando Laposse, Jay Sae Jung Oh, Liliana Ovalle and Bethan Laura Woods about their practices, processes and concerns. Organized by Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, SFMOMA’s Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design, and Los Angeles-based creative director and interior designer Alexandra Loew, the exhibition is designed in fluid and meandering categories that feel conversational rather than authoritative. With plush seating for visitors and intimate, moody lighting, the gallery fosters an immersive atmosphere that invites visitors into the unfolding conversation.

Conversation Pieces co-organizers Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher and Alexandra Loew; photo: Matthew Millman