Here is a super important exhibition, which exemplified the fascination with 20th-century design. The interest in the design culture of the mid-century, developed in 'other' countries has recently occupied scholars, museums, and historians, seeking to uncover the counterparts of the US, France, Italy, and Scandinavia and to fill enormous gaps. The work and legacy of Clement Meadmore (1929-2005), the star of the Australian industrial design during the immediate years following WWII, is now the focus of a monographic survey exhibition at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, entitled 'Clement Meadmore: The art of mid-century design.' While Clement has been widely recognized and known for his welded sculptures, which he famously showed in Melbourne in the 50s, and in the US, after emigrating to New York in 1963, Meadmore's early work as a designer living in Australia has not been known until now. What this show comes to reveal, is that Meadmore was not only one of a handful of designers who significantly raised standards in furniture design in post-war Australia, but also that his black steel frame furniture, upholstered in blind cord or canvas or combined with glass or plywood, was widely known and regularly featured in magazines during the fifties and won him honors and awards. The exhibition, the first survey of Meadmore's design practice, and curated by Dean Keep and Jeromie Maver, consists of examples on loans from private collections and from Meadmore's family. While the pieces belong to a typology and can be clearly recognized as mid-century furniture, they are original, chic, and well-designed, testifying to a great talent and a commitment to the zeigeist design principle. Photos by Christin Capurro.
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