ST. LOUIS, Sept. 8, 2015—The Saint Louis Art Museum this fall presents St. Louis Modern, a major exhibition exploring the St. Louis region’s significant contributions to midcentury modern design through more than 150 objects drawn from the permanent collection and more than 30 museums and private lenders around the country. The ticketed exhibition will be on view from Nov. 8 through Jan. 31, 2016.
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Organized chronologically and thematically, the exhibition traces the emergence of modern design and its embrace in St. Louis during a 30-year period bookended by the 1935 start of planning for a major national monument on the St. Louis riverfront to the 1965 completion of Eero Saarinen’s modernist masterpiece, the Gateway Arch.
St. Louis Modern features a wide variety of modern design objects and artworks that were designed or made by St. Louis-based architects, artists and designers; or purchased and used locally. In addition, galleries will highlight significant architectural commissions, public sculpture, murals and stained glass; and feature both rare and renowned examples of mass-produced design.
“Planned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Eero Saarinen’s magnificent Gateway Arch, St. Louis Modern highlights St. Louis artists, architects, and designers whose work helped shape the midcentury modern aesthetic in America and raised our city’s profile as a center of design locally, nationally and internationally,” said Brent R. Benjamin, director of the Saint Louis Art Museum. “The civic theme is echoed by the generosity of our many local lenders whose passionate collecting of this material underscores the enduring popularity of this movement.”
St. Louis Modern explores several themes, including machine-age; aerodynamic design; mass-market design; the influence of architects and tastemakers; embellishments; and Scandinavian design. Design objects and artworks will include furniture, glass, silver and other metalwork, textiles and industrial design objects as well as paintings, drawings, photographs, models for sculpture, and stained glass. Many have never been exhibited before and their makers have been rediscovered through new research conducted for the exhibition.
Architects, artists and designers featured in St. Louis Modern include Harris Armstrong, Harry Bertoia, Frederick Dunn, Charles and Ray Eames, Dorothy Liebes, Samuel A. Marx, Isamu Noguchi, Victor Hugo Proetz, Siegfried Reinhardt, Eero Saarinen and Pipsan Saarinen Swanson. Locally made industrial designs included in the exhibition range from the diminutive—a Dazey rocket-shaped ice-crusher—to the grand—a sleek 1954 Chevrolet Corvette representing the first model year that was manufactured in St. Louis and embodying the embrace of innovative materials and streamlined styling.
All tickets to St. Louis Modern are timed and dated. Admission is free for Members. For the general public, tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, $6 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children age 5 and under. Tickets are available in person or through MetroTix. Tickets purchased through MetroTix incur a service charge.
St. Louis Modern is curated by David Conradsen, the Grace L. Brumbaugh and Richard E. Brumbaugh Associate Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, and Genevieve Cortinovis, research assistant. This project has been organized by the Saint Louis Art Museum. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Gertrude and William A. Bernoudy Foundation, and by BMO Harris Bank. Financial assistance has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.
St. Louis Modern is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring a comprehensive essay on modern architecture in St. Louis by architectural historian Mary Reid Brunstrom; and essays on prewar and postwar modern design in St. Louis by exhibition organizers co-curators. Brunstrom offers a thoughtful analysis of both the Gateway Arch and the modern built environment that already was taking shape by the late 1920s. Conradsen and Cortinovis will expand on themes explored in the exhibition, including in-depth examinations of the city’s embrace of modern aesthetics in sculpture, silver, stained glass, murals and textiles. The catalogue will be available in the Museum Shops in November.
The Museum will offer an array of exhibition-related programming, including lectures, gallery talks, a bus tour of midcentury modern architecture and other events. For more information about any exhibition-related events, visit slam.org/stlmodern.
CONTACT: Matthew Hathaway, 314.655.5493, email@example.com