In the fall of 2017, the Art Institute of Chicago will debut the museum’s first permanent installation dedicated to 20th and 21st century architecture and design. In the months leading up to this major display on the second floor of the Modern Wing, the space will feature a series of three mini-exhibitions showcasing different aspects of the museum’s design holdings – from an exploration of the modern chair to a look at different expressions of postmodernism to a celebration of typography in graphic design. Tying the three installments together is an installation design by Amir Berbic for the galleries and the windows facing onto Griffin Court.
Devoted to the museum’s seminal collection of architectural drawings and furniture, graphic, and industrial designs, the evolving Modern Wing will display the first of its kind in the United States, highlighting important acquisitions and presenting architecture and design as an integrated, ever-changing, and multilayered experience.
The practitioners represented in the Art Institute’s diverse collection showcase the many voices that have shaped the fields of architecture and design and continue to do so today. From Daniel H. Burnham, Marion Mahony Griffin, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to Armin Hofmann, Louis Kahn, and Lauretta Vinciarelli as well as contemporary practitioners such as Stan Allen, Irma Boom, Studio Gang, and Yuri Suzuki, works from our past, present, and future are organized chronologically by theme. Sections range from the history of ornament and Pop to contemporary moments in urbanism and speculative design. Delving into the development of the modern city, the effect of technological transformations, the impact of evolving health concerns, and the influence of global dynamics, the history of modern and contemporary architecture and design is presented as a living social and cultural process. A series of new, immersive videos further illuminate key issues and works from Chicago and the Midwest, across the nation, and around the world.
Taking our increasingly complex social, cultural, and political landscape into consideration, this display emphasizes the critical role architecture and design continues to play in identifying urgent issues and generating new thinking and problem solving. Its dynamic narratives highlight the impact of architecture and design thinking and practice on our lives, opening up a space for conversations with the general public, architecture and design enthusiasts, and experts in these fields alike.