Artist Michael Beitz has spent the last several years transforming the most common furniture silhouettes into surreal, Dali-esque sculptures.
Spotting one of Beitz's installations in the wild is sure to trigger a double take, but these sculptures also elicit thoughts on the social nature of the furniture we take for granted. For example, the sculpture above is constructed in a way that disrupts one of the most important functions of a dining table — connecting people around the universal activity of eating.
One of Beitz's most visually striking works is "It's No Picnic," a 10-foot-long outdoor picnic table in Omaha, Nebraska that drapes nonchalantly over a metal patio railing:
When you come across the table, the first thing that comes to mind is likely, "How the heck did he do that?" The piece, which was installed over a three-week period in 2011 on the gallery terrace of Omaha's Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, is so surreal that you might wonder if it's even real wood.
Skeptics can take a seat, however, because Beitz walks us through the conceptualization and construction of the installation in a video produced by the museum:
As he explains in the video, he achieved the flawlessly drippy wood look by clamping layers of laminated poplar and epoxy onto a custom mold. While it makes for a trippy and unconventional aesthetic, it nonetheless remains a functional piece of social commentary.
"I think the picnic table is this thing that a lot of us have memories of," explains Beitz, who is currently an assistant professor at University of Colorado Boulder. "It can be this universal object that we can all kind of relate to."
If you'd like to see more of Beitz's mind-bending work, check out his website or continue below for a few of our favorites.
"Table," 2016, wood.
"Tree Picnic," 2014, wood, 50 ft. x 20 ft. x 30 inches.
"Not Now," 2014, wood, 18 ft. x 6 ft. x 8 ft.
"Whippy," 2016, wood