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We Sit Together
Utopian Benches from the Shakers to the Separatists of Zoar
Francis Cape

ISBN 9781616891596
Publication date 06/17/2013
6.5 x 8.5 inches (16.5 x 21.6 cm), Paperback
112 pages, 15 color illustrations, 55 b/w illustrations
Rights: World; ( 4,104 .0)

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Whether for protest, religious congress, companionship, eating, or comfort, sitting communally remains one of the most powerful and prevalent of human social activities. This simple act held special significance in numerous utopian communities that emerged in nineteenth-century America, and was given physical presence in the form of a variety of styles of wooden benches. Fascinated by these expressions of harmony and equality, renowned British artist Francis Cape sought out and made measured drawings of remaining examples.

We Sit Together presents twenty-five of Cape's beautifully reconstructed benches drawn from twenty utopian sects, active from 1732 to the present, ranging from well-known communities like the Shakers to more obscure groups like the Separatists of Zoar. Introduced by noted curator Richard Torchia, and featuring crisp photographs and lovingly handmade drawings of the benches, along with installation photographs by Aaron Igler, this rarely seen slice of Americana will appeal to the collector, woodworker, student of American history, or anyone who just likes to take a seat.


Editorial Reviews

New York Times:
"An engaging tour of craft, technology, and community."

New York Times:
"A beguiling, informative book."

The artblog:
"The artblog gets quoted on the inside cover of the new Francis Cape book! Thanks Princeton Architectural Press! Cape's utopian benches project, by the way, is amazing. Go see the bences right now at Murray Guy Gallery in NYC (to Aug. 9)."

The Daily Beast:
"A fascinating book."

Hyperallergic Blog:
"The full endeavor, including detailed records of the benches (so you can make your own), is compiled in Cape's associated book, We Sit Together: Utopian Benches from the Shakers to the Separatists of Zoar."

The Art Blog:
"The book, published by Princeton Architectural Press, has some great color photos from the Arcadia installations, lots of black and white photos of the community buildings and the original benches. While this is not in the least intended as a how-to book, Cape has included carpenters' schematics for the benches, in case someone gets ambitious to build a bench herself. For a lay reader with no carpentry skills, the drawings are great to look at and they communicate the simplicity and elegance of the designs."

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