Tom Loeser – AOD 2019

Tom Loeser

Furniture Maker, Educator
Award of Distinction Recipient
Presented by The Furniture Society
June 22, 2019

The Furniture Society proudly announces that the recipient of its coveted 2019 Award of Distinction is Tom Loeser. His award will be presented at a luncheon ceremony on Saturday, June 22, 2019 during the Furniture Society’s conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

This year's jury, (Rosanne Somerson, Mia Hall, and Laura May) chaired by Wendy Maruyama – concluded in their assessment that they were searching for ‘those individuals that changed the course of how the field evolved, and their nurturing of younger and less experienced makers, bringing them into the field through various routes.’ And to that end, the jurors have chosen Tom Loeser due to his ‘significant contributions across the areas that make up the field of furniture design; skill and inventiveness as a maker; leader in the field outside of making; educator, and a thought leader through contributions to the discourse of craft and furniture design.’

Tom Loeser’s recent solo exhibition, Please Please Please, highlights his long-standing investigation of unconventional, invitational furniture forms begun in the early 1980s with a series of Folding Chairs, colorful seats that double as wall-hung art. In more recent years, he has made chests that swivel and slide, rocking chairs for two, rotary-action benches, and many other surprising shapes. When in use, these pieces immediately create opportunities for interaction – not only between people and objects but between people and other people, too. Accessible and entertaining, to be sure, Loeser’s work also has a purpose: to shake up our habits, and to encourage us to be playful with our environment and with one another.

    “...we should … follow the wisdom of Dr. Seuss, who observed, “adults are just obsolete children.” It seems to me, following this logic, that the really impressive thing about Tom Loeser’s work is not that it gets us older folks to think differently, or that it expands the formal domain of furniture. It certainly does do those things, but I think he’s aiming much higher. He’s actually, genuinely, playing around."
    Glenn Adamson, It Could Have Been Kindling

Tom Loeser (Madison, Wisconsin) served as Chair of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Art from 2009-2014 and has been head of the wood/furniture area at UW-Madison since 1991.
Loeser designs and builds one-of-a-kind functional and dysfunctional objects that are often carved and painted and always draw inspiration from the history of design and object making.
In addition to producing studio furniture, Loeser has also worked on a number of public commissions and site-specific installations including for the Madison Children’s Museum and the new downtown public library in Madison, Wisconsin.

Loeser’s work has been featured in many national and international exhibitions and can be found in important museum collections including the Brooklyn Museum, Fuller Craft Museum, Museum of Arts and Design, Racine Art Museum, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, among others. His solo exhibition Please Please Please is currently traveling to three venues in California and Texas. He was elected to the American Craft Council College of Fellows in 2012.

Click here for a PDF of the press release.


Selected images of representative work by Tom Loeser