Testing Chair (Remembering Bessie Harvey)
Roots, metal, corrugated tin, wire, enamel, spray paint, Splash Zone compound
77 x 66 x 57 inches
National Gallery of Art
Museum purchase and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation
Testing Chair (Remembering Bessie Harvey) is a thronelike chair swallowed up by gold and silver roots (Harvey was a root sculptor), constructed after the death of his sometime friend and fellow artist. After the art world put Harvey’s art into competition with Dial’s for the few token placements assigned to their shared “category,” Harvey testified on 60 Minutes against her and Dial’s common patron (William Arnett). Dial’s piece rues a system that had foiled black artistic progress by turning its artists against each other.