What Is Modern?

Nov 1, 2010–Mar 24, 2013


Closed: November 1, 2010–Mar 24, 2013
North Building - Level 2

What Is Modern? features imaginative furniture, industrial, and graphic designs that span more than 200 years, from the early 1800s to the present day. The objects—representing a trajectory of innovative thinking and a variety of methods, materials, and concepts—explore the ways in which design has expressed the modern experience.

“In its simplest form, the term modern implies the up-to-date, a current development, or, better still, a spirit in step with its own time,” explains curator Darrin Alfred. “This concept could be applied to a 200-year-old innovation still in use today, such as the steaming of wood, bending it, and letting it harden into curved shapes or patterns. It could also apply to works by today’s emerging designers.”

What Is Modern? is on view through March 24, 2013.

News & Stories

  • A Brief History of the Chair in Design
    Blog: Behind the Scenes

    A Brief History of the Chair in Design

    Roaming through the museum’s North Building you may find yourself asking, “What’s with all the chairs?” I know I have. To answer this question for myself and all of you, I did a little digging into the history of design. As it turns out from reviewing Centuries and styles of the American chair, 1640-1970 by Robert Charles Bishop and 1000 chairs by Charlotte Fiell, a chair can say a lot. More