Thursday, June 26, 2014

EXHIBITIONS: Designing Women in NYC

Designing Modern Women 1890-1990 

at Museum of Modern Art, New York

Through Oct. 1, 2014

Gesso by Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh,
more than a muse 

Presenting design objects by more than 60 women, this show highlights the work of Marianne Brandt, Eileen Gray, Lilly Reich, Eva Zeisel, Ray Eames, textile artist Anni Albers, ceramicist Lucy Rie, 1960s graphic designer Bonnie Maclean and other luminaries. Some of the artists are well known to design aficionados; many, though, might be unfamiliar to a general audience.The exhibition explores the connections between modern design, female emancipation, class stratification, and health reform, paying particular attention to everyday spaces and objects, such as kitchens and labor-saving appliances.

The first object on display might be a bit perplexing; it's a tall wooden side chair by famed designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, crafted in 1897. Why begin with a man’s work? Label-reading viewers will learn that from early in his career, Mackintosh collaborated with his wife, Margaret MacDonald, an acclaimed artist during her own lifetime. Mackintosh readily acknowledged Margaret as more than a muse, declaring: "I have talent; she has genius."

               Marianne Brandt teapot

Eileen Gray's elegant and utilitarian "1027 table"

                                                                                                                        Annie Albers textile design    

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