Sling RO/LU Chairs: A Lot

RO/LU Aluminum Rauschenberg Chairs, 2011, Lot 179 in a Patrick Parrish-curated sale 11 Apr 2024 at Wright20

NGL, I chose this among the many great RO/LU lots in Patrick Parrish’s upcoming sale at Wright20 for the headline. Even though I got stuck on the ending.

Matt Olsen calls these Rauschenberg Chairs, because they were realized by one of Robert Rauschenberg’s original fabricators. He was one of the first artist/designers to do a residency at Captiva, too, in 2013. So maybe there was some carefree hammock or sling inspo there on the deck, too; I have not asked.

RO/LU Primarily Primary chair, 2011, fir, textile, rope, image via Patrick Parrish

But I think he took the form with him to Florida. RO/LU showed fir and fur-based sling chairs in late 2011, with ropes holding up a wild felt seat element by Ashley Helvey. Their full title was Primarily / Primary (after Carol Bove, Scott Burton and Sol Le Witt), namechecking three artists that had been on/in their minds while making them.

Scott Burton Marble Armchair, 1987-89, as sold at Rago in 2023

It is unsurprising now, but a refreshing (re)discovery at the time that in exploring the gap between art and furniture, RO/LU would find Scott Burton.

RO/LU, Settee X Three (After BURTON Photo, In Private, Public + Secret), 2012, Lot 169 at Wright20

Which, now that I bring it up, I can’t not post the greatest Burton-referenced piece in the sale, this group of walnut forms called Settee X Three After BURTON Photo (Private, Public + Secret). I’ve been staring at the 360-degree photos, and the pull-aparts of the the four pieces for ages, and still cannot quite process or piece them together.

I first got to know RO/LU as a blog before I got to know them as people, and one of the most amazing things they did was experiment with moving from digital/visual contemplation to real world experience when so much of the culture was trying to do the opposite.

Scott Burton, Granite Settee, 1982-83, coll. DMA, photo: Mary Ann Sullivan via Sight Unseen

So an object (Private) that was produced by eyeballing an old photo of a Scott Burton granite settee at the Dallas Museum, that is temporarily cast in concrete on a Williamsburg sidewalk (Public), and replicated somewhere else (Secret), that you can only understand in person, feels very on the mark.

11 Apr 2024 Lot 179: RO/LU, Aluminum Rauschenberg Chairs, 2011 [wright20]
Lot 169: RO/LU, Settee X Three (After BURTON Photo, In Private, Public & Secret), 2012 [wright20]
2012: RO/LU’s Settee X Three at Sit and Read Gallery [sightunseen]
RO/LU | “Primarily / Primary (After Carol Bove, Scott Burton + Sol Le Witt) Chairs”, 2011 [patrick-parrish]
Previously, related: Scott Burton Marble Armchair