When you visit the new exhibition 'The Value of Good Design' at MoMA, you can feel, experience, and marvel the glamor world of mid-century design. This excellent and entertaining show comes to illuminate the concept of 'Good Design,' which stood at the core of lifestyle during the postwar years and was heavily promoted by the Museum through its various initiatives. Juliet Kinchin, Curator or Modern Design at MoMA has brought to life some of its original missions in her previous shows, but put it at the center in this show, showcasing the exhibitions, competitions, and design collecting of those years. This exhibition is also reminding us that what was (and still is) considered 'Good Design' in MoMA's standards and values, is not necessarily the universal definition of good design. It had (and still has?) to be affordable, democratic, functional, and of a great form to be considered for acquisition by the Museum. There was a great sense of propaganda attached to this type of design, which came to enhance the image of the US as the most progressive, successful, and technological-advanced powerhouse in the world. Although there is a representation of design from Japan, East Germany, France, and Brazil in the exhibition (loved the Brazilian corner), it primarily focuses on the US. I particularly enjoyed the Glimpses of the USA, a series of slides, created by Ray and Charles Eames in portraying the daily life in the United States for the 1959 American National Exposition in Moscow (original photo below in B&W), which I have seen for the first time; I also loved seeing objects rarely seen at the Museum, such as the Fireplace Set by David Smith (below). What I admire about Kinchin's shows, and she has already demonstrated a signature style in her curating projects, is how they provide a total experience beyond an ordinary visit to a museum, and so, through objects from domestic furnishings and appliances to ceramics, glass, electronics, transport design, toys, graphics, and amazing films, she weaves the type of atmosphere which allows the visitors to dive into the period and to dream for a short hour that they are living it. Highly recommended. All photos courtesy MoMA.
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