Organized by the Liliane and David M. Stewart Program for Modern Design, this exhibition focuses on how the Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) first director, Alfred Barr, and curator of architecture, Philip Johnson, introduced modern design to North America. The exhibition’s narrative begins with Barr and Johnson’s travels in Europe in the late 1920s and early 1930s. What they saw there was a revelation: the rejection of ornament, practiced by leading European architects—such as Le Corbusier, J. J. P. Oud, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe–had given rise to a purity of form that Barr and Johnson would dub the ‘International Style’. The exhibition traces the development of modern design from its origins at the Bauhaus in Dessau to Barr and Johnson’s radical experiments in their homes to MoMA’s nationally influential exhibitions in the 1930s and beyond. It includes more than 100 objects—including furniture, photographs, and industrial and graphic design—drawn from private and public collections.
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