The Carroll and Milton Petrie European Sculpture Court has long been a place of refuge for visitors to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York’s most popular cultural destination. For decades, chairs similar to those found in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris provided respite for weary museum-goers. Now, in what she characterizes as a “a quiet intervention of sorts,” Sarah Lawrence, the Metropolitan’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, has replaced this Parisian standard with seating designed by David Adjaye, the Ghanaian-British architect, “disrupting the cultural homogeneity of the court and introducing a dialogue of contrasting cultures,” according to Lawrence.
For Adjaye, the sculptural chairs, fabricated in die cast aluminum, with powder coat paint or copper plating, "explore critical themes in my work—research, history, materiality—finding specific conditions, amplifying them and making them aesthetic while giving them the potential to be part of our world.”
Introducing Adjaye’s chairs in the Petrie creates a new visitor experience, especially with the recent addition of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux's 'Pourquoi Naitre Excalave!' which is the first depiction of a person of African descent on view in Petrie, among the many historic, mythological, and biblical individuals in sculptural form there.
Commenting on the installation, Andrew Cogan, Knoll Chairman and CEO, said, “We’re thrilled that David’s work for Knoll is a part of the Petrie Court, offering visitors a powerful combination of contemporary design and social commentary.”