Art and Design in the Modern Age

Selections from the Wolfsonian Collection. Ongoing.

The Wolfsonian Museum at FIU holds and incredible collection of Design. Think Miami and think Design. However, many of the museum’s holdings precede our era of magnificent condos by the bay and aseptic contemporary interiors. The exhibition holds nearly 300 objects from the museum’s collection, covering a period from 1885 to 1945. The boundaries between art and design have never been clearly defined. Today, artists, designers, architects and publicists keep interacting and crossing over as if design was always there. But there was a time when design was more than an Italian Sofa.

The Modern Age was an era infused by optimism. It relied on the promise of a better future based on the accelerated implementation of the industry. The modern era was also a time that witnessed the birth of concepts like mass production, mass media or design.

The exhibition Art and Design in the Modern Age explores the origins and development of Design, and the many ways it has influenced modern world and adapted to it. Some of the more outstanding objects on display include a handmade box combining Arts and Crafts tenets with Maori decorative motifs by New Zealand silversmith Reuben Watts; Electricity, a bas-relief produced for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair; mass-produced moderne furniture by American industrial designers Kem Weber and Paul Frankl; and Alexander Stirling Calder’s sculpture, Star, a female figure he created for the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915.

This show has been ongoing since 1996 and is updated periodically. The collection on display is quite complete. Almost every aspect about Design is covered. The show includes works that reference design reform movements, urbanism, world’s fairs, advertising, political propaganda and labor iconography, etc. The wide range of themes and objects presented, will not only allow us to picture how it was then, but it will also bring some understanding on many of today’s cultural issues.

Wolfsonian Museum – FIU
1001 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139

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