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Art & Culture, Did You Know?, Sculptures

Artist Paul Kittelson Supersizes Aluminum Lawn Chairs

Posted: September 18, 2016 at 5:10 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

True North Sculpture Exhibit

Paul Kittelson installed a couple of whimsical super sized webbed aluminum lawn chairs in the True North sculpture exhibit.  This display on Heights Boulevard in Houston, Texas is now a part of history.  It was fun strolling along the paths admiring the different sculptures.  Eight local Houston artists had their works of art presented to the public.  You can play ‘catch up’ here if you missed seeing the show in person.

This surely took me back in time!  When I was growing up in the 1950s these lawn chairs were very popular.

I was about ten years of age when my parents gave me my first camera.  It was a Christmas gift.  My Brownie box camera was used to capture the family photo shown below.

My mother and a couple of my cousins are pictured on the left.  My grandmother in the checkered dress is standing next to my grandfather.  A great uncle and a couple of my great aunts are also shown in this photo.  We were obviously enjoying an outdoor picnic.

Old family photo with aluminum lawn chairs in the mix.

Old family photo with aluminum lawn chairs in the mix.

Webbed Aluminum Lawn Chairs

These retro mid-century webbed aluminum lawn chairs were frequently used by many people as lawn or patio chairs when I was growing up.

My parents and grandparents had both the folding chairs and stationary or non-folding styles which stacked one on top of the other. They also had the webbed aluminum chaise lounges.

Artist Paul Kittelson was born in 1959 so he undoubtedly remembers many of these vintage chairs. These lawn chairs sell on sites like Amazon and eBay for anywhere from $20 to $50 on average. The re-web chair kits are still available as well.

After the True North sculpture exhibit ended in early November of 2014, Kittelson’s giant sized aluminum “Lawn Chairs” could be purchased for $5,000 each.

I wonder who ended up with these realistic super sized sculptures? Quite a few kids (of all ages!) could be seated in just one of his gigantic chairs.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Following World War II, I was one of the early baby boomers.   Back in those days most people were in the habit of saving.  They were happy to use second hand items passed down to them from family or friends. Most products built during those times were meant to last. The mantra of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ was not yet heard.  It was just natural to most people of that generation to be thrifty.

Clothes were patched and socks were darned to make them last longer. People did not easily discard goods if there was still some use that could be derived.

It seemed natural that when the webbing of those aluminum chairs would wear out, new webbing would be used to freshen them up again! I saw my parents do that.  Fortunately for people who can still locate these types of vintage lawn chairs, webbing is still available.

Artist Paul Kittelson

Mr. Kittelson teaches on the faculty of the University of Houston School of Art.  He earned his Masters of Fine Arts degree there in 1985.  Prior to that his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree was attained at the University of California in Santa Barbara.

This well known Houston artist has had numerous one person exhibits in Houston art galleries. He has also participated in group exhibitions in Texas.  These group exhibitions include the cities of San Antonio, Abilene, Beeville, Midland, Wichita Falls, Austin as well as in Houston. Other states where his art has been shown include North Carolina, California, New York, Florida, Indiana, Nevada and Illinois. Outside of the U.S. his artwork has been exhibited in Lima, Peru and Shanghai, China.

From the funky art car parades to many large scale public art projects around town, many people have gotten to view the works of Paul Kittelson.  That is in addition to those works of his which are located in museum collections.

Thanks for the flash back in time, Mr. Kittelson!

Your giant sized “Lawn Chairs” have made people smile and resurrected memories of earlier days for many of us.


Super sized aluminum lawn chairs by artist Paul Kittelson

Artists in True North Sculpture Exhibit:

The following artists also had their sculptures displayed.

Have you ever personally used these types of aluminum lawn chairs?  If you have memories of them please let me know in the comment section below.  Thanks!

The location where the “True North” art exhibit was held in Houston: