Considering Brian Zimmerman’s stacked-chair sculpture

Greasing the Skids” at the Clark County Government Center Rotunda

Visitors to the Clark County Government Center were stopped in their tracks on Monday at the sight of Brian Zimmerman’s “Greasing the Skids” sculpture. Some pulled out their phones to take pictures, others circled the peculiar, fascinating structure that revealed so much of itself upon closer examination.

For anyone appreciating the impact of art in public spaces, this was a success: a 16-foot towering work made of more than 50 stacked wooden chairs that had visitors—who weren’t expecting to see art while running their errands—studying its behavior and deciphering its meaning.

The somewhat humorous installation, designed specifically for the Government Center’s Rotunda, includes six functioning wooden chairs at its base. Each chair supports a stack of chairs with the one above it more deviated, leading to the top chairs having legs that are bent, curled and zigzagging. The chairs’ cushions are ballooned out, piling and resting on each other, as if they’re the life cycle of a living thing.

Resembling the colors of a cotton boll’s brown branches and white plumes, the sculpture’s individual chairs become more interesting as they evolve away from their original appearance.

Zimmerman, a former assistant professor in sculpture at UNLV, says the work was inspired by the physical and psychological changes experienced both individually and as a community.

His previous anthropomorphic chairs have included two two-legged, 22-foot-tall chairs at the San Diego Museum of Art titled “Support,” and a sad, crippled chair slumped in a corner titled “Where Would You Go?” On September 30, he’ll discuss sculpture in a conversation titled “About a Chair” at the Barrick Museum.

Greasing the Skids Through September 27; Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Clark County Government Center Rotunda, 455-7030. Closing reception and artist talk September 27, 6-8 p.m.

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Kristen Peterson

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