Save the Furniture!
Broodthaers Society of America
December 2, 2023 – January 6, 2024
The Broodthaers Society of America is pleased to present Save the Furniture, an exhibition based on the old-fashioned euphemism for making the best of a bad situation and sardonically staving off feelings of resignation, emptiness, or despair. When Marcel Broodthaers first implored us to sauvez les meubles, he implied that “the furniture”, whatever that might mean, is also capable of saving us.
Save the Furniture will literally present actual furniture saved over the duration of the Broodthaers Society’s existence. Without fanfare, it will be comprised of every seat, display unit, pedestal, shelf, store fixture, and piece of equipment that has been used in the Broodthaers Society’s exhibitions and events. In that sense the show will resemble a kind of wrap party, albeit an inanimate one, the assembled objects seeming somewhat uncomfortable with their newfound idleness. And yet there they will be, solid as ever, you will still be able to move between them, examine them, and even knock on them if superstition warrants.
The objects in Save the Furniture will also be capable of regarding themselves, even when the lights are off and no one is there. Since all of the objects in the show will be empty—nothing on the pedestals, nothing being projected, nothing in the safe—they can be turned into cameras by making their interior cavities light-tight and affixing an aperture. Over the course of the exhibition, then, each object will document its exact position in relation to every other object in the show. These photographs will also enter the show over time and, in turn, be rephotographed. In other words, the furniture will save itself.
As always, this show is inspired by the work of Marcel Broodthaers. In late 1968, as his fledgling Musée D’Art Moderne, Département des Aigles was trying to hang on after having failed to secure recognition (let alone funding) from the Belgian government, Broodthaers penned an open letter expressing his frustration with officialdom. That sentiment culminated in the terse and oblique sauvez les meubles! missive that eleven months later. Now, Save the Furniture will be an elegiac forum for wondering which of our current, very real and very imperiled institutions might stand in for Broodthaers’ fictional one.