May 1994: NEW YORK, May 25, 1994—Twentieth-Century Design From The Brooklyn Museum Collection, an exhibition of a wide selection of objects, spanning almost the entire century, opens at the Museum on May 25 where it will be on long term view. Among the 144 objects, created between 1909 and 1990, more than 50% have never before been on public view, including several recent acquisitions, or have not been displayed in more than a decade.
The exhibition of objects, which more than doubles the amount on view of twentieth-century material from the permanent collection, presents both the handcrafted and machine-made created from traditional and synthetic materials. They range from exquisitely crafted glass to a 1930s electrolux vacuum cleaner.
The works, arranged chronologically, and by style, reflect the dominant and sometimes overlapping design trends of the twentieth-century. The installation includes examples of turn-of-the-century European High Style, the machine age, studio pottery, and biomorphic design, as well as a wide variety of late twentieth-century pieces. Some of the objects were selected for their innovations in form, material, or manufacturing technique, others were chosen for their distinct place in the history of design.
Among the works on display that were created in the first half of the century are a René Lalique vase, a German electric kettle, Russel Wright’s pancake and corn set; Fostoria glassware; Polaroid’s Cambridge study lamp; a Kodak box camera; and an electric pencil sharpener. The pieces representing the 1950s through the 1970s include a plate, cup, and saucer designed by Roy Lichtenstein; an Arne Jacobson coffeepot; and a metal and plastic calendar created by Italian designer, Enzo Man. Among the contemporary pieces are Terence Long’s Radiant Egg Throne Egg Holder and Philippe Starck’s Italian-made Juicy Salif Juicer.
Molly Seiler, assistant curator of decorative arts, has organized the installation.
Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1989 - 1994. 01-06/1994, 003-4.