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"Vital Forms: American Art and Design in the Atomic Age, 1940-1960"
2001-10-12 until 2001-06-06
Brooklyn Museum of Art
Brooklyn, NY, USA

What do a Predicta television set, a 1950s sports car, a Slinky, Tupperware, K rations, Eva Zeisel ceramics, a Willem de Kooning painting, a Charles James evening gown, and an Alexander Calder mobile have in commonNULL All were created using organic form, a new direction in fine art and design that flourished during and after World War II.

These items appear, along with 250 other works in Vital Forms: American Art and Design in the Atomic Age, 1940-1960. A decade in the planning, this exhibition is the first ever to present examples of all the visual arts that made use of organic form and to examine their relationship to the period in which they were created. Included are paintings, sculpture, clothing, architectural photography, textiles ceramics, jewelry, furniture, glass, and graphic design. Additionally, this exhibition traces how that visual vocabulary was applied to objects of popular culture, such as Formica countertop laminate and paperback book covers.

The works in Vital Forms come from a variety of public and private collections, primarily in the United States. Approximately one quarter of the material has been drawn from the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

This exhibition is organized by Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, and Kevin Stayton, Department Head and Curator of Decorative Arts at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Martin Filler and Mildred Friedman are consulting co-curators, and Dr. Paul Boyer is the project's cultural historian.

Vital Forms: American Art and Design in the Atomic Age, 1940 - 1960 was made possible, in part, by generous grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support was provided by the Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal Foundation, The Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, and the Gramercy Park Foundation. Support for the catalogue was provided through the generosity of Furthermore, the publication program of the J.M. Kaplan fund, as well as a BMA publications endowment created by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

IMAGE:
Spacelander Bicycle
Designed by Benjamin J. Bowden, 1946


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