A Designed Life – Opening Reception
The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture celebrates the opening of the exhibition A Designed Life: Contemporary American Textile, Wallpapers, and Containers & Packaging, an exhibition based on three historically significant traveling exhibitions of contemporary mass-produced, American-designed consumer goods that were commissioned by the U.S. Department of State and exhibited in Europe early in the Cold War period. It recreates and interprets those early Cold War exhibitions — including American textiles, wallpapers, containers, and packaging — restating and interpreting part of each display as it might have appeared in the early 1950s.
The three historical exhibitions — Contemporary American Textiles designed by Florence Knoll; Contemporary American Wallpapers designed by Tom Lee, and Containers and Packaging designed by Will Burtin — were each developed as collections of industry-specific consumer goods, designed and manufactured in the spirit of American modernism. The Traveling Exhibition Service (TES), an organization later known as the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, organized these exhibitions for display in post-WWII Germany on behalf of the U.S. Department of State in order to help promote the grown of democratic governments within postwar Europe.
Margaret Re, an associate professor of visual arts who teaches design, is both the exhibition curator and principal investigator of A Designed Life. Re is excited for the potential of the exhibit to help audiences explore the U.S. Department of State’s decision in the early 1950s “to connect consumer choice with political choice as well as the reception of European audiences to such cultural diplomacy in the post WWII years.”
Image:“A Designed Life” Exhibition Poster by Margaret Re for the CADVC.