Milwaukee Art Museum Opens New Exhibition on European Design

Posted on October 6th, 2010

Press Contacts:

Kristin Settle

Vicki Scharfberg

Everyday items prove they are more than just objects October 9, 2010–January 9, 2011

Milwaukee, Wis. – October 6, 2010 – The Milwaukee Art Museum’s newest feature exhibition, European Design Since 1985: Shaping the New Century, opens this Saturday, October 9. It is the first encompassing, critical assessment of contemporary Western European design from 1985 to 2005.

European Design Since 1985: Shaping the New Century will present more than 200 seminal works including furniture, ceramics, metalwork, glass and product design that reveal the extraordinary creativity of over 100 European designers. The exhibition defines Europe’s central role in driving design’s proliferation during the 1980s and 1990s.

“This exhibition reminds us that great art is present in our lives every day. European Design Since 1985 makes art accessible,” said Mel Buchanan, Mae E. Demmer Assistant Curator of 20th-century Design. “Whether it is a light fixture, a vase, a chair, a vacuum, or a knife and fork, it is not just an object. These are useful and beautiful artworks that express ideas and opinions and sometimes genius.”

The exhibition and catalogue divide designs into two major movements, those that continue a “Postmodern” attitude and those that renew a “Modern” tradition. The show is divided into eight sections which include objects highlighting modern, postmodern, biomorphic, neo-dada and minimalist design, among others.

“This exhibition is friendly, colorful, and whimsical,” said Buchanan. “European Design Since 1985 offers a fantastic variety of objects that blur the line between fine art, craft, and design. It might differ with what some define as fine art, but you can also argue that many of these chairs and lamps are as conceptual as a bronze sculpture or abstract painting.”

European Design Since 1985: Shaping the New Century is organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Denver Art Museum in conjunction with Kingston University, London. It is curated by R. Craig Miller of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and coordinated at the Milwaukee Art Museum by Mel Buchanan, assistant curator of 20th Century design.

European Design Since 1985: Shaping the New Century is sponsored by the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Friends of Art.

The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Thursdays until 8 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for students, seniors and active military, and is free for members and children 12 and under.

The first Thursday of each month is Target Free First Thursday and admission is free for everyone.

The Milwaukee Art Museum’s far-reaching holdings include more than 20,000 works spanning antiquity to the present day. With a history dating back to 1888, the Museum houses a collection with strengths in 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, contemporary art, American decorative arts, and folk and self-taught art. The Museum includes the Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion, named by Time magazine as “Best Design of 2001.” For more information, please visit www.mam.org.