Salon 94 Design presents Fantasy Furniture, 1967, an exhibition of work by the late writer, activist, and Fluxus artist Kate Millett (b. 1934 – 2017). The exhibit runs from January 20 – March 5, 2022. Appointments can be scheduled here, and require proof of Covid-19 vaccination.
Widely known for her seminal feminist texts including Sexual Politics, 1970, Millett was also an accomplished artist and member of the downtown New York art scene – working alongside Fluxus artists like Yoko Ono and Pop artists such as Marisol Escobar. This exhibition recreates Millett’s first New York solo exhibition at The Judson Gallery in 1967, originally titled Furniture Suite and later described by Millett as Fantasy Furniture, with works on paper from 1976–1980.
Assembled together for the first time in 50 years, Millett’s Fantasy Furniture works are hand-carved of wood, upholstered in mattress ticking and combined with found objects into anthropomorphic sculptures resembling domestic furniture; Chair, 1965 stands on two feet; Blue Eyed Marble Box, 1965, a cabinet of curiosities, peers out from a head with two blue eyes; Bed, 1965 with two sets of legs and heads protruding, suggesting a scene of two resting partners.
As Jenni Crane’s thesis Kate Millett: Crossing Boundaries, 2021 suggests, Millett’s Fantasy Furniture works were created during a domestic period of sorts in Millett’s life – upon her return to New York when married to Japanese sculptor Fumio Yoshimura – and grew out of this relationship. They speak to “‘coupling as a phenomenon, all told through the metaphor of the domestic space couples share, more specifically, its furniture.’ In Sexual Politics, Millett denounces the established norm of heterosexual partnering in relationships and the mythologies of heteronormative familial structure as a socially contrived system that maintains masculine authority within and beyond the confines of the home, while allowing women – the female partner – little freedom, autonomy, or agency, if any, at all.”1
Fantasy Furniture, henceforth sets the stage for prolific life of feminist activism and critic and also establishes Millett as part of the Fluxus Movement with the inclusion of Uncle Louis Stool with Boots, 1967 and works from the Metaphysical Food, Food for Thought series in the Fluxus Codex and The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection.
1 Crain, Jenni. “Kate Millett: Crossing Boundaries.” Master’s thesis, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, 2021, 15-16