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Jorge González
Banquetas Chéveres (Chéveres Stools)

Easy to fold and carry, Jorge González’s stools embody the nomadic and flexible nature of the Escuela de Oficios. González’s work employs a modernist language while paying homage to artisanal techniques specific to Puerto Rico and the Indigenous knowledge, people and histories of the Carribean. Reinterpreting the furniture line ArKlu (1945-1948) conceived by the architects Stephen Arneson and Henry Klumb, the stools were conceived in collaboration with various artisans in Puerto Rico–Eustaquio Alers, a weaver from Aguadilla, Joe Hernández from Ciales, and MAOF from San Juan, a contemporary wood-salvaging collective, among others. The seats are inspired by the furniture line ArKlu (1945-1948) conceived by the architects Stephen Arneson and Henry Klumb, whose practice encouraged ethical design principles, and named in honor of the craft-working Chévere family the artist met during a research trip in Puerto Rico and who descends from the Taíno, an Indigenous people of the Caribbean thought to have been eradicated during the Spanish conquest. In the Caribbean, the Spanish word chévere loosely translates as “more than cool” in English and evokes both a culture and a state of being.

Layering references from ancient and modern influences, Jorge González’s work revolves around reestablishing lost artistic techniques of the Caribbean and in particular Puerto Rico. His socially-engaged practice finds its manifestation in collaboration with various artisans and in-depth research of lost trades related to arts and crafts. González was inspired by German-American architect Henry Klumb’s collaboration with craft workers when he arrived to the island to found Escuela de Oficios (Trade School), which functions as a symbolic space that honors Klumb’s ideals about learning. At the Escuela de Oficios, knowledge—ranging from ancestral techniques to collective practices—is shared during mobile meetings taking place across Puerto Rico so participants can learn from local artisans and engage in conversation, workshops, and exhibitions.