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'Chairevolution!' explores the art of sitting

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With Black Friday coming up you may soon be thinking about where can you sit down. That is, if your mantra is "shop til you drop." While you may not care what you sit on just as long as you get off your weary feet, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts has taken something as mundane as a chair and has constructed an entire exhibit, titled "Chairevolution!," which makes sitting down anything but ordinary.

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"Chairevolution!" examines 300 years of chair design, using many pieces from their permanent collection. It also examines whether chairs have mostly been intended as merely functional, or if there is more to the chair beyond its functionality. From the MIA: "Often designers mix the new with some borrowed elements from the past. For instance, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, and Egyptian Revival each built on select elements of older styles. The Prairie School, Bauhaus, and other schools shocked and surprised as they produced completely new twists on an age-old form."

As the exhibit shows, some designers took the chair to an entirely new level, creating pieces that don't even look like they are supposed to be used for sitting -- not comfortably, anyway. It's interesting to explore the evolution of chairs from objects to sit on into coveted objects and art pieces.

"Chairevolution!," at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, closes February 6, 2011. The museum, located at 2400 Third Avenue South in Minneapolis, is free and open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday beginning at 11 a.m. The museum is closed this Thanksgiving.