Serious Play:
Design in Midcentury America

September 28, 2018–January 6, 2019
Baker/Rowland Galleries

Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America explores the projects of over 40 designers who advocated for playfulness and whimsy within their creations for corporations, domestic interiors, and children. The exhibition presents play as a serious form of inspiration, experimentation, and problem solving. In midcentury America, such playful design occurred against the backdrop of a booming consumer market and as a counterbalance to Cold War–era anxiety. Furniture, toys, textiles, films, posters, ceramics are among the objects featured.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts

Artworks | National Endowment for the Arts

Programs + Events

Member Preview Celebration: Home

Thursday, September 27, 10 AM

Be among the first to see the hundreds of objects in Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America. Enjoy exclusive tours of Family Pictures, and check out how a decades-long mystery was solved in Constable? A Landscape Rediscovered.

Members receive:

- Member-only access to Serious Play
- 1:30 p.m. lecture, Serious Play with Monica Obniski, Demmer Curator of 20th-& 21st-Century Design
- 5 p.m. Celebration with appetizers, cash bar and live music.
- 6:15 p.m. lecture, Serious Play with Darrin Alfred, Denver Art Museum

Lectures are ticketed. Tickets are available on a first-come, first served basis from Admissions starting at 10 a.m.
Join as a Member today!

Exhibition Sponsors:

Artworks / NEA
Brady Corporation Foundation
Herman Miller Cares
In Memory of L. William (Bill) Teweles
Melinda and Ken Krei
Terri and Verne Holoubek Family Foundation
Milwaukee Art Museum’s African American Art Alliance
Herzfeld Foundation and Madeleine and David Lubar
Layton Art Collection Inc.

  • Ray Eames with the first prototype of The Toy, 1950. © Eames Office LLC (eamesoffice.com)