With a practice that encompasses roles as artist, designer, architect, and furniture maker, Roy McMakin wholeheartedly acknowledges an elasticity of meaning. His projects may appear to be objectively one thing—a chair or a house, for example—but they hold layered emotional content. Many of his pieces are inspired by visual and verbal puns and other conceptual conceits: a boudoir in which every drawer is painted a different shade of white and every drawer knob is a slightly different size; the frame of his adolescent bed bisected by a mirror to explore both physical and psychological space; a partially-shaved white and black shag rug that reveals how graphic flatness can depend on three-dimensional construction. McMakin’s art forces viewers to focus on the ontological complexities of furniture—which, while it occupies the same space as sculpture, is not culturally recognized as such.
McMakin has been the subject of exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle; and the Portland Art Museum. Group exhibition venues include Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York; and Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. In 2010, Skira Rizzoli published a comprehensive monograph on McMakin titled When Is a Chair Not a Chair.
About the Visiting Artists and Scholars Lecture Series
SFAI’s Visiting Artists and Scholars (VAS) lecture series provides students and faculty—as well as the wider Bay Area public—with direct exposure to major figures in contemporary global art and culture. It creates an open forum through which SFAI’s students are challenged to go beyond basic canonical approaches to the study of art and to discover a global perspective that encourages conceptual and comparative approaches. In addition to the public lectures they give, visiting artists and scholars regularly engage with students in an immediate and active way, by teaching intensives or by participating in seminars, critiques, or colloquia.
This event is FREE and open to the public. But space is limited, and advance registration is recommended: