Does a society’s craft reflect its values? Can open, democratic discussion improve society? These are some of the questions informing “Utopian Benches,” which brings together 17 of these pieces of furniture, featuring varying proportions and ornamentation. All were built by Francis Cape, based on designs by the Shakers and other utopian communities. The show coincides with the release of the artist’s book We Sit Together: Utopian Benches from the Shakers to the Separatists of Zoar, and the benches play host to a series of talks and discussions. Last Thursday’s was with philosopher and School of Visual Arts professor Robert Hullot-Kentor; artist Josiah McElheny will be in conversation with the artist July 31.