Rachel Comey’s Art Show Is Full of Chairs Designed by Women

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Leanne Shapton's "SEATS: Studies of furniture designed by women" opens tonight.Photo: Leanne Shapton

At a dinner party one night, fashion designer Rachel Comey and the Canadian artist Leanne Shapton asked an architecture critic why it was so hard to find furniture designed by women. Hoping to furnish Comey’s New York store with chairs by female designers, the two had shopped all over Nolita (known for a high-end supply of furniture) and specifically asked store clerks for pieces designed by women. They found almost nothing. One clerk pointed to an abstract painting with sweeping green brushstrokes.

The critic’s answer that evening: Too often, female furniture designers were betrayed by male employers or watched their husbands take credit for their work. Comey and Shapton decided to create an art show to fill and revisit this void.

The resulting exhibition, titled “SEATS: Studies of Furniture Designed by Women,” opens Thursday at Rachel Comey’s New York store. Featuring 100 watercolor and ink paintings by Shapton, curated by Comey, the show spotlights pioneering furniture designers like Eileen Gray and Greta Magnusson-Grossman. The show’s debut is free and open to the public tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at 95 Crosby Street. Bonus: Prosecco will be served.

Click ahead to preview the exhibit. “SEATS: Studies of Furniture Designed by Women” will be on view for the next three weeks.

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