“Take-Out Only: The Chairs of Covid-19” was a project from March 2020, as the pandemic began. The series was featured in The Drawing Room art gallery’s “Tides of Change” exhibition in February 2022.
When the Covid-19 pandemic began, the immediacy of the situation and its risks pushed aside longer term, larger fears about the environmental challenges we face.
When most of us started sheltering at home, an occasional walk around the city – masked, socially-distanced, safe – became an exercise in imagining other ways our city and our lives might change, after the pandemic ended. The most visible examples were the scenes at nearly every restaurant in my neighborhood. Establishments that just weeks earlier had eagerly welcomed visitors now became places that could no longer allow guests inside except to quickly pick up meals to take away.
The varied stacks of chairs that became the standard decor of nearly every restaurant were one of the most visible demonstrations of how our world had changed.
When confronted with hyperobjects like a global pandemic or climate change, we struggle to make these situations real and understandable. The simple, pragmatic reality of chairs stacked in piles or turned upside down was one of the plainest markers for how a changing world can abruptly force us to rearrange our lives.