Steve “The Chairman” Farland is looking for a home for seven soldiers.
The soldiers — named the Sentinel, the Guardian, the Brotherly Love, the Soul Man, Humanity, the Creator and Victory — aren't your average, everyday soldiers, however. The largest is 26 feet tall, and all are made entirely out of chairs.
“They are meant to be together in one arena, one circular space,” Farland says. “What I’m looking for is, of course, a permanent home. But we want to be able to take the art and show it to people.”
He says the soldiers deliver the message that “together we are whole and apart we are broken.”
Collectively, the wooden warriors form a collection called "Victory," and most recently have been set up inside the Littleton warehouse and art studio, Chairborne Arts, where Farland has operated his wholesale chair business for the past five years. (He's sold chairs for thirty years.)
That's all coming to an end.
“Two months ago, my landlord gave me the notice I’ve always suspected would come: 'You’ve got sixty days to move out,'” Farland says. “Now I’ve been looking for a temporary or permanent home to take the soldiers to so they can continue to speak of the broken world we live in.”
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Farland says he had a vision of what would become "Victory" about thirty years ago but was never able to put the project together because of other obligations. In 2013, he decided to finally pursue his vision. Realizing that he needed help, Farland put out a call for artists on Craigslist, eventually choosing Brian Sartor out of about twenty hopefuls to help him complete the project.
“I gave him a lot of leeway to do what he wanted,” Farland says. “He always sent me pictures, and every day he’d say, ‘What do you think of this?’ I’d say, ‘I like that.’”
The resulting collection has been shown around the country, including stints at the Denver Art Museum and the Arvada Center. The installation has won multiple awards, Farland says, and he has tentative plans to take the art to Expo 2020 in Dubai later this year. But ultimately, the sculptures need a permanent home.
Farland says that the soldiers, which each take between twelve to fourteen hours to put together, can be disassembled and kept inside a 53-foot semi-trailer. But ultimately, he explains, they should be kept inside, and that will require a room about forty feet by forty feet.
“They do need space,” he says. He recently declined to take them to an exhibition in Florida because the organizers didn't want to display the sculptures in the same room.
“They wanted to divide them into two spaces,” he explains. “While that’s interesting, it doesn’t really tell the story.”
It's important that the sculptures be kept together, he says, because the power of the statement they make is otherwise diminished. People have offered to buy individual pieces, but Farland has always declined.
“People have offered me obscene amounts of money for one or two of them, but it’s like, which finger do you want to cut off?” he says. “Or which finger do you want left? If one of them is away, the others are lonely.”
Time is running out.
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“I have to have them out by the 28th of this month,” he says. “Can they go to the Denver Art Museum? I don’t know. Could they go to the Museum of Contemporary Art? Possibly. Is there a big atrium in a building like the [Madden Museum of Art]? Possibly. There are a lot of places I just don’t know of.”
Farland is asking anyone interested in providing "Victory" a home, permanent or temporary, to come to the warehouse and see the pieces up close. Since his longtime business as well as the display is losing its home, he’s also trying to liquidate the 2,000 chairs, yards of fabric, works of art and other treasures currently held inside.
He’ll make you a deal.
The Chairman is located 4201 South Navajo Street in Littleton. The warehouse is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through February 28. He’s available at 303-733-2100 and email@example.com.