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Indepth Arts News:

"Aluminum by Design: Jewelry to Jets"
2001-12-15 until 2002-04-07
Wolfsonian Museum
Miami Beach, FL, USA United States of America

The beauty and versatility of aluminum come home - literally - in an exhibit presented this month by the Wolfsonian-Florida International University. Aluminum by Design: Jewelry to Jets, organized by Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and drawing heavily upon the Miami Beach museums permanent collection, features its title items as well as household goods such as cast-aluminum cookware, a meat slicer and a Sears Roebuck Imperial Kenmore vacuum cleaner.

Initially a scarce material used primarily in the fashioning of small luxury goods, aluminum was first mined in large quantities in the late nineteenth century. Alloyed with other metals, it gained the strength to serve as the material of choice for a multitude of manufactured products, and soon the aluminum industry exploded. Transportation, in particular, benefited from the metals unique propertiesCincluding its light weight, malleability and corrosion resistance-as witnessed in the high-speed trains, racing cars and even milk-delivery trucks that proliferated in the years between World Wars I and II. Architecture saw the development of decorative cast elements such as gates, doors, balusters, grilles and other fixtures and fittings. And consumer-oriented aluminum household Aessentials, including furniture, the spherical bun warmer and the flared compote, grew in popularity in the 1930s.

Without a doubt, aluminum transformed modern culture in the twentieth century and continues to have an impact today, says Cathy Leff, director of the Wolfsonian-FIU. I believe this exhibit will drive home to everyone, in an interesting, informative and even playful way, the metals significance.

The national tour of Aluminum by Design is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Alcoa Foundation.


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