A Designed Life 1951-1954
Contemporary American Textiles, Contemporary American Wallpapers and Containers and Packaging
February 7 – May 4, 2019
Curated by Margaret Re and organized by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, UMBC with support from the Coby Foundation, National Foundation for the Arts and Knoll, Inc.
A Designed Life re-creates three traveling exhibits of American consumer goods funded by the United States Department of State and organized by the Traveling Exhibition Service:
Contemporary American Textiles, designed by Florence Knoll
Contemporary American Wallpapers, designed by Tom Lee
Containers and Packaging designed by Will Burtin.
These exhibits, circulated in West Germany as Textilien aus U.S.A., Tapeten in U.S.A. and Werbepackung in Amerika. They were presented in schools, museums, trade fairs, and through the Amerika Haus program, a system of information centers funded by the U.S. government.
By connecting consumer choice with political choice, the State Department planned to convince the German public and other Europeans that the United States offered more and better lifestyle choices than those of the Soviet Bloc.
These exhibits were short-lived and never presented within the U.S.
The many components of A Designed Life provide insight into the historical, architectural and political climate of the time and, as such, they will be immensely informative and educational for all who will view the exhibit.
Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, UMBC