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TO JANUARY 14
“How often,” ask the exhibition notes accompanying George Beylerian’s collection of tiny seating devices, “have you taken a chair for granted?” The fanciful chairs that comprise “Chairmania: Fantastic Miniatures” have never suffered that indignity—but they’re also much likelier to get stepped on. The exhibit, which explores the artistry of the functional as well as the parameters of cuteness, contains dozens of chairs divided into nine thematic categories. These include “Seats of Power” (whose thrones range from a teensy Egyptian one promoting the 1978 King Tut exhibit to the porcelain kind), “Pretenders” (which are actually utilitarian objects such as ashtrays, salt-and-pepper shakers, and sewing kits), “Transformed Chairs” (those made from unexpected materials like cigarettes, playing cards, wheat, and in one case, someone’s dental bridge), and “Flights of Fantasy: Artist and Designer Chairs” (the best of which is Michele Oka Dover’s “Terrible Chair”—you’ve heard of the crown of thorns?). At the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. (202) 272-2448. (Nicole Arthur)