Thursday, October 22, 2009

Know Your Prairie From Your Jugendstil

Eric Jackson-Forsberg, Ombudsman to the Fin de Siècle

Befuddled by the world of modern design? Many visitors to the Martin House arrive curious (and perhaps confused) about the myriad, overlapping movements in modern design, and come with questions about how Wright's Prairie-era designs mesh with those of Art Nouveau, the Arts and Crafts Movement, and the Chicago and Prairie Schools. These questions often require a dissertation to answer; but, of course, you may only have time for the "Cliff's Notes" version.

Never fear, there's a succinct, interactive, and beautifully designed resource to aid in this quest: the Minneapolis Institute of Arts interactive timeline of Modernism.

This online tool is enjoyable to use, and attractively illustrated with exquisite objects from the MIA's decorative arts collection (which includes the Wright-designed table and chairs from the Barton House - see also their online exhibition "Unified Vision: the Architecture and Design of the Prairie School").

This timeline and online exhibition may help to tune-up your understanding of the convoluted map of modern design. Wright's work is certainly "on the map," but stopping at that statement runs the risk of giving visitors the wrong directions.

1 comment:

Bill said...

They have a youtube channel as well with British and American Arts & Crafts Movement, Modernism, etc. clips. These are a couple years old but still OK.