Design: 1880 to Now at Brooklyn Museum

The newly renovated gallery exhibits an exciting range of designers and manufacturers from the late nineteenth century to the present day.

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date and location: from June 3rd, Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA

Forming a core area of our design and decorative arts collection of more than 30,000 objects, including furniture, ceramics, glass, and metalwork, the selected works offer competing visions of modernity, explore tensions between craft and industry, and demonstrate critical innovations in production. 

Design: 1880 to Now also expands upon the traditional Eurocentric narrative, particularly by examining issues of cultural appropriation across decorative arts mediums. In one key comparison, we pair a Brooklyn-made vase from the nineteenth century that privileges the story of white settlement in the United States, alongside one from 2019 that offers a more equitable and diverse history of our borough. Other groupings consider the exploitative trade in Asian ceramics for the pleasure of European consumers, or compare the opulence of French Art Deco design with the simplicity of mid-century modern bent plywood. At every turn, we reassess and critically reinterpret the collection by delving into the Museum’s long history, and how our own practices have changed over time. View these outstanding examples of over a hundred years of European and American design in a new way, with our open, modern, and accessible displays.


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