Vivian Beer: She’ll Never Sit Still

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Vivian Beer: She’ll Never Sit Still

by Genie Carr, Docent-Volunteer | @LearnReynolda

Meet the artist! Vivian Beer will give a Designer Talk: The Chairs of Vivian Beer at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at Reynolda House.

Pictured: Vivian Beer 

A chair, Vivian Beer has said, is about “just sitting down.” Although to see her chairs, including Current in The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design, is to watch movement suspended in time. The steel slats of Current—vivid in sea-blue auto-body paint—flow in continuous waves. And, Current works: “If you sat in it,” she said, “you could feel it bounce a bit.” Beer says two of her clients sit in their chairs of similar design to enjoy their morning coffee. 

As with all her works, it took a while to know just how she wanted Current to look—four years, in fact. Each object, she says, starts with a feeling and a certain personality she wants the piece to have. 

The arc of design “takes years. There’s a feeling, then a silhouette”—in this case, “a whiplash design,” Beer told me. Then she decides “how the object will look in space.” She translates the feeling and look into metal, color, and technique. She experiments, a lot. The name comes last. 

The names reflect motion: Current; Ruffle Stool; Wind Blown Couch; Slither. Walk. Fly; Ruby Red Slipper (Anchored Candy No. 3)

It is this sense of motion, and a fellowship, that have taken her to the Smithsonian Institution’s Air & Space Museum, where she is studying historic flying machines, their cultural influences, and their dynamic materials and forms. She says that the project has affected her feeling of mobility. “I can’t sit still,” she laughs. 

Beer lives in Massachusetts and travels often. She will give a talk punctuated by images at Reynolda House on November 20. “I’ll have a ton of slides,” she said. 

To learn more about the artist and her work, visit her website,

* This article was originally published in the Fall 2014 Docent Dateline, the Docent-Volunteer newsletter.

Designed and Manufactured by Vivian Beer (b. 1977), Penland, NC, Current, 2004.

Meet the artist! Vivian Beer will give a Designer Talk: The Chairs of Vivian Beer at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at Reynolda House.

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