Milwaukee Art Museum/Denver Art Museum Serious Play : Design in Midcentury America exhibition catalogue

Serious Play : Design in Midcentury America

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This exhibition catalogue shows how postwar designers embraced whimsy and eclecticism in their work, exploring playfulness as an essential construct of modernity. Following World War II, Americans began accumulating more and more goods, spurring a transformation in the field of interior decoration. Storage walls became ubiquitous, often serving as a home's centrepiece.

Designers such as Alexander Girard encouraged homeowners to populate their new shelving units with folk art, as well as unconventional and modern objects, to produce innovative and unexpected juxtapositions within modern architectural settings. Playfulness can be seen in the colourful, child-sized furniture by Charles and Ray Eames, who also produced toys. And in the postwar corporate world, the concept of play is manifested in the influential advertising work of Paul Rand.

Set against the backdrop of a society that was experiencing rapid change and high anxiety, Serious Play takes a revelatory look at how many of the country's leading designers connected with their audience through wit and imagination.

  • Authors: Monica Obniski and Darrin Alfred
  • Hardcover: 256 pages | 153 colour and 51 black and white images
  • Date published: October 2018
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0300234220
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 24.1 cm

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