Thursday, May 11, 2006

Modernism at the V&A

Modernism: Designing a New World 1914-1939
6 April - 23 July 2006

Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Road

London SW7 2RL

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Modernism: Designing a New World 1914-1939 concentrates on modernism in the early twentieth century and is the first to explore the concept of modernism without confining itself to an individual decade or geographic region. In doing so, it sets upon a rather daunting endeavor. In fact, at times all the isms and movements associated with this “loose collection of ideas” (as modernism is described in the exhibit’s program) gets a bit oppressive. Still, a deep breath and quick look around alleviates any ideological bogging down of the senses: as busy as the concepts behind modernism seem to be, the end results are not. Clean lines and crisp imagery are the highlights of this exhibit, which focuses on architecture and design in an effort to reflect early modernism’s “emphasis on the unity of the arts and the key role of the fine arts in shaping contemporary visual culture.”

Not nearly as awe-inspiring as the V&A’s art deco exhibit a few years back, Modernism: Designing a New World 1914-1939 is still worth a visit and is impressive in its attempt to wrangle in all that was modernism from 1914-1939.

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