Art Gallery: Opening Event for Francis Cape’s ‘Utopian Benches,’ Nov. 15

By Purnell T. Cropper | November 15, 2011

Arcadia University Art Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Utopian Benches, a new project by the British sculptor Francis Cape, on display from Thursday, Nov. 10, to Sunday, Dec. 18.

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, Cape will give a slide lecture about his practice and address the evolution of the Utopian Benches. The lecture will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Room 102 in Brubaker Hall, adjacent to the gallery building. A public reception will follow in the gallery.

The show, Cape’s first solo exhibition in the Philadelphia area, is comprised of twenty reconstructed benches originally designed for American utopian communities. Cape has remade each seat based on a careful study of available examples and measured drawings, many obtained from his own research. Built from poplar grown near Cape’s studio in Narrowsburg, N.Y., each unpainted bench suggests a newly minted prototype. To be considered both as contemporary sculpture as well as furniture that can be actively used by gallery visitors, the twenty benches evoke the accumulated aspirations that helped to shape them while inviting collective engagement, speculation, and discourse. (Read more about the exhibition.)

The exhibition will be supported by a small, illustrated booklet containing information about each community from which the benches were sourced and available at no charge to visitors.

Gallery Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and weekends noon to 4 p.m., as well as by appointment.