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George Pierce (American, active mid-20th century). Pair of Satellite Jumping Shoes, patented June 18, 1968. Metal, textile, rubber, 5 3/4 × 4 5/8 × 10 in. (14.6 × 11.7 × 25.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum; Gift of Harry Greenberger, 2010.51a-b. (Photo: Brooklyn Museum)

Museum Spotlight: Mid-Century Decorative Arts and Design

Opened in April 2022

Decorative Arts and Design Galleries, 4th Floor

This installation of decorative arts, design, and craft explores the tensions and parallels between two categories of useful objects: the handmade and the industrially produced. Displayed in a soaring tower, the exhibit features different yet overlapping groups of functional objects primarily created between World War II (1939–45) and 1960. These apparent contradictions are examined with some definitions, admittedly not very demarcated, of decorative arts and design. Mid-Century Decorative Arts and Design also delves into the categories of craft, or hand production, and industrial design before considering them together in a tribute to one of the most important design and decorative arts exhibitions ever held at the Brooklyn Museum, Italy at Work: Her Renaissance in Design Today, in 1950. This selection of objects features works by celebrated artists, including Charles and Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi, Gio Ponti, Art Smith, and Eva Zeisel among others.

Museum Spotlights are intimate installations of noteworthy collection works, recent acquisitions, and loans, presented to encourage deeper conversations about art, history, and justice.

Mid-Century Decorative Arts and Design is organized by Catherine Futter, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator, Decorative Arts, Liz St. George, Assistant Curator, Decorative Arts, and Talia Shiroma, Curatorial Assistant, Arts of the Americas and Europe.

Leadership support for this installation is provided by Dr. Susan Weber.