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Design 1810 - 1995
January 11 - August 24, 2013
Designs for buildings, furniture, advertising and consumer products by some of the greatest designers in America
"Design" is simply choice. Aesthetic choice. The elements of design can be seen in architectural, graphic or industrial drawings and the products they describe can be buildings, bridges or appliances.
In 1955, F. Schumacher & Co. produced a line of wallpapers and fabrics designed by the one architect Americans would know, Frank Lloyd Wright. The old architect used triangles, squares and spheres on the short lived "Taliesin Line" of papers and fabrics to add pizazz to the drab Eisenhower years and make a profit at the same time.
"Design" had become mainstream. The 1960s and 1970s would propel the marketing of design to the masses but the designers themselves knew it to be part of a very old idea. Often, design drawings are the first draft of the creative process. But that process is hidden from the view of everyone else but the artist.
ArchiTech Gallery has assembled some of those ideas into a commercial exhibition of industrial, architectural or decorative works of art.
Chicago's only commercial gallery of architectural art, ArchiTech Gallery is showing works by Wright, Goldberg and other masters of the medium to tell this story of 20th Century design.
This exhibition and sale of important graphic works begins Friday, January 11th and runs through Saturday, April 27th, 2013
Notes on the Exhibition:
Usually, the dearth of walk-ins and January snow force me to raid the cupboard for what's been framed or matted but not shown in a dedicated exhibition. The warm Winter we've had (with no snow as yet on the sidewalks) and my own flu symptoms have caused me to slow the process and actually examine the art to show. As I've not had a special exhibition dedicated to "design" as yet, and some of the unexhibited material in the drawers and vault is either industrial, theatrical or decorative design, I thought it was time to put it on the walls.
"Design" is a major component of architecture, of course, but this exhibition slows down the architectural process to show just the cutaway sections of blueprints, certain plans and the tissues from the freehand drawing stage never shown to the clients.
When I'm asked about the step-by-step process of design, I've told those who want to hear it to consider this: Rocks landing in a circular arrangement when thrown over your shoulder doesn't make "design" but the careful arrangement of those same rocks into that same circle does. Design is consciously planned.
And since this gallery also presents historical work from the Nineteenth Century, the 1810 engravings for a British Scientific journal show that the new machines of the Industrial Revolution became prophetic symbols of the "Modern" to a society steeped in tradition. They may have been the earliest images published to celebrate the design process. And now they're on my walls next to coffeepots and clothes steamers created by the design department of Sears, Roebuck and Company.
Museums now regularly showcase industrial designs in furniture, silverware, lamps and clocks right next to paintings and sculptures. It may be routine these days for museums to exhibit those more modern objects but for a commercial gallery to put design drawings on the wall to sell speaks highly of the clientele. ArchiTech's clients tend to be more thoughtful and…dare I say it?…more interesting than those of other galleries. This exhibition is for them.
The creative process has been around since the first cave paintings. As those cave drawings will never find their way to museums or the walls of ArchiTech, these designs I'm showing will have to do.
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Chicago, IL 60654