All good things must come to an end, and so it is with the beloved "Nest" chair by Johnny Swing, also affectionately known as the Half Dollar Chair. Made entirely of Kennedy half dollars, "Nest" captivated the hearts and imaginations of both children and adults. We thank Johnny for his creativity and vision for creating an unbelievably engaging piece of sculpture-furniture, that guests on which guests could sit, touch, wonder and dream. It was one of the most popular attractions at LongHouse, but alas it is moving on to another exhibition.
Johnny says in his artist statement:
"Art making is a social responsibility. To honor the privilege of being an artist, there are expectations I have for my work. First, it needs to be entertaining; second, it needs to spark curiosity, so that it creates a dialogue with the viewer; and third, it should have a formal quality, so that when the work is or approximates furniture, it must be comfortable.
The dialogue around art is the most complex; most work achieves this dialogue in the visual/ethereal plane. My recent sculptures which function as furniture focus on the physical. During the interaction between the viewer and the work of art a sharing occurs, the senses are alerted, and a primal experience is generated by being on/in the work. A feeling of bliss, a surprise, a sense of oneness and belonging exists. After the initial shock of the experience comes the inevitable investigation on the part of the viewer, and what was once limited to the eyes is now open to the flesh.
I have made objects of refulgence, with money–the material that makes the world go round. These, flat hard shiny coins in a circular format, which have been touched, hoarded, traveled, and traded for goods and services are now released from their original burden. Assembled together to form the furniture they become part of the play in swirls, lines and patterns"
Johnny's work is currently in an exhibition, "Johnny Swing: Design Sense at the Shelburne Museum" through June 2. Check it out if you are in or near Vermont. shelburnemuseum.org. johnnyswing.com