A headless cow? A bench to sit on? Actually, it’s both! German-born artist Julia Lohmann (b.1977) investigates the contradictions in our relationship to animals using off-cuts of leather, and other meat-industry waste products in her design. The Waltraud Cow-Bench (2004) is an appropriately cow-shaped upholstered leather bench, a “bovine memento mori,” the designer calls it.
This series of benches are meant to be thought-provoking, humorous, and useful. Lohmann names them all; this one is named after her mother.
As lyrical and polemical as her work is, it is always intended to be useful: Waltraud is as comfortable as one dreams a reclining cow would be. Lohmann hopes these benches will encourage people to think about how we use and treat animals.
Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC