Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design

Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York
February 26–May 20, 2012 in the Grand Gallery

What is Mid-Century Modern? After WWII, from about the mid 1940s through the mid 1960s America saw a flourish in modern design. Mid-Century Modern was seen in furniture, crafts, graphic design, ceramics, and architecture. The movement was and is particularly important in Western NY with the School of Ceramics at Alfred and RIT’s School for American Crafts. Two important artists of this movement are from western New York, Wendell Castle and Albert Paley.

Mid-Century artists were interested in using organic forms and were influenced by Scandinavian and Brazilian architects who incorporated clean lines integrated with nature. As these architects were influencing many of the homes being during this time period, the time period also saw a mass production of household goods, from furniture to clocks. The reason being was chief designers during this period (Ray and Charles Eames being among them) wanted their items to be affordable to the average homeowner instead of the wealthy. Ray and Charles Eames were pioneers in mass produced furniture, their Eames chair is highly collectible.  Other Mid-Century artists included, Harry Bertoia, Marcel Breuer, Richard  Neutra, Ludwig Mies, van der Rohe, and Isamu Noguchi. For more inforamtion on Mid-Century Modern see these sites:

The Mid-Century Modernist

Mid-Centry Modern

You can see the show at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York.

Pictured at top of page (from left):
Evert Sodergren, Sculptured Chair (1953). Walnut and leather. Collection of Margaret Minnick.
Claire Falkenstein, Pendant (1961). Glass, iron. The Dukoff Collection.
Isamu Noguchi, Akari 820 Lamp (1951–52). Mino washi paper, bamboo, metal and electric cord. Noguchi Museum.


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