Synergistic Synthesis XVII Sub B1 Chair by Kenneth Smythe

After my daughter’s theater workshop, I took her up the street for a leisurely tour of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art‘s current exhibit, “The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design.”

Most chairs encountered throughout the day define themselves fairly simply – a place at the family table, a comfortable spot with a great view of the river, a seat of corporate power. When looking at the 43 chairs selected for The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design, however, there is much more to see than simple pieces of furniture. These works of art have compelling stories to tell about our national history, the evolution of American design and incredible artistry and craftsmanship.

No photography was permitted at the museum, but I did sketch this interesting acrylic creation, which features a fluffy pillow that looks like a tribble. (A few years ago, I blogged about spotting reused furniture in Star Trek and Mission: Impossible.)


We both liked the range of chairs, from ladder-backed utilitarian items created by anonymous craftsmen, to one-of-a-kind creations, like this Synergistic Synthesis XVII Sub B1 Chair by Kenneth Smythe.

I asked my daughter to draw a picture of her favorite chair, and she picked out a few chairs for me to draw. We both spent the most time trying to capture the complexity of the Synergistic Synthesis XVII Sub B1, which sounds like something from a Douglas Adams novel.

Here is Carolyn’s sketch of the side view.