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Pizzuti Collection makes a powerful reopening

Joris Laarman’s chairs made with artificial intelligence, featured at Pizzuti Collection Credit: Tristan Relet-Werkmeister | Lantern Reporter

The Pizzuti Collection is celebrating its fifth anniversary by unveiling its new exhibition “When Chairs Become Attitudes,” in addition to announcing the donation of its building and 40 works of art to the Columbus Museum of Art.

Since its opening in 2013, the Pizzuti Collection has displayed more than 600 works by more than 200 artists from 40-plus countries. The generous donation from the founders of this collection is widely acclaimed in the local art scene.

“It is not only great but it is also something that should happen in the whole country,” Glenn Adamson, co-curator of the exhibition, said. “What I’m hoping is that [it] becomes a model for other cities.”

The exhibition “When Chairs Become Attitudes” is inspired by an avant-garde show, presented in Switzerland in 1969. The curators wanted to associate an unusual element to a typical piece of furniture to make visitors reflect on the function of objects that we all know.

“We find out [through the exhibition] how unbelievable the combination of genius and modern technology comes together,” said Gisela Josenhans, former nurse and docent.

Joris Laarman’s chairs made with artificial intelligence, featured at Pizzuti Collection Credit: Tristan Relet-Werkmeister | Lantern Reporter

Four generations of designers are exhibited and all works are part of the Pizzuti collection. Among the art pieces are two chairs made of stuffed animals and a “Freeze Chair” that is made of liquid nitrogen.

“There is no collection like [this one] in the United States,” Adamson said.

An entire room is dedicated to the work of Joris Laarman, a Dutch designer who explores the crossroads of technology and art. He uses artificial intelligence and 3D printers to build furniture.

For his “Bone Chair,” Laarman programmed his software to think like the manner in which bones grow, and in trying to find the perfect weight-strength ratio for the material he chose aluminium.  

This metal is both light and strong, allowing the software to create a model that could support 330 pounds.

Laarman also wanted to design chairs made of small pieces so people could make their own with a small 3D printer. Hence, he created “Makerchair,” made of dozens of wooden puzzle pieces glued together.

Visitors are sometimes intrigued by the input of AI in these works and wonder where it stops in the art-making process.

Adamson said AI is the tool and the one that wields it is the artist.

“In the case of Matisse, [saying that] the real artist is the paint brush is a stupid thing to say,” Adamson said.

Adamson said he believes AI is not yet able to create “truly satisfying art.”

“What makes art powerful to us is that it’s created by somebody who has a body and a limited life-span … and yet can transcend those limitations,” Adamson said.

“When Chairs Become Attitudes” will be displayed at the Pizzuti Collection until Jan. 20. Admission is free for students.

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