WASHINGTON, D.C. — This spring, the Corcoran
Gallery of Art will host the critically acclaimed exhibition, Modernism:
Designing a New World 1914-1939, from March 17 through
July 29, 2007. It is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition
on Modernism to be staged in the United States to date and
was originally organized
by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). In fact, the Corcoran will be the
show’s only American venue, following its installation at the V&A and MARTa Herford
“This show demonstrates how Modernist art, design and architecture
still affect nearly every aspect of our lives. It takes a
comprehensive look at Modernism, featuring everything from
teacups to buildings with no gaps in between,” said the Corcoran’s
new director and president Paul Greenhalgh.
This ground-breaking and vast exhibition explores the foundation
and meaning of Modernist art and design and its evolution
into a mass movement that continues to impact the way we
live. As it explores key Modernist movements—such as Bauhaus,
DeStijl, Constructivism and Purism—the exhibition reveals
how the distinctive style developed and what principles defined
it. The show also investigates Modernism’s key themes, including
Utopia; the role of the factory and mass production; the
spiritual aspect of modern life; fascination with the healthy
body and organic forms found in nature; and, national identity.
Modernism contains more than 390 works and 50 film
clips and encompasses a broad range of media, including industrial
and graphic design, architecture, painting, film and photography.
While its works will represent 17 countries, the Washington
exhibition will have a distinct American flavor, featuring
American works not in the V&A’s exhibition. In fact, the
Corcoran is a key lender to this exhibition, with 15 works
coming from its permanent collection.
Among the key Modernist figures featured are artists Piet
Mondrian, Fernand Léger, Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray,
Alexander Rodchenko, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy,
Charles Sheeler, and Stuart Davis; architects and designers
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright,
Walter Gropius and Richard Neutra, Marcel Breuer, Gerrit
Rietveld, Marianne Brandt and Alvar Aalto.
Modernism is understood more as a loose collection of utopian
ideas than a movement or single approach. Modernist artists
aimed to use new art and technology to positively transform
the world around them. The Modernist aesthetic rejected ornamentation,
embracing abstract, geometric forms and strong colors. As
such, it provided a template for the Modern world.
Exhibition highlights include:
- The first built-in modern kitchen to be manufactured
in large quantities, the “Frankfurt Kitchen,” discovered
recently in Frankfurt after 80 years of continual use,
and the prototype for all subsequent kitchens.
- One of the rarest Modernist cars—the streamlined, dorsal-finned
Czech Tatra T77.
- Paintings and collages by artists such as Braque, Picasso,
Léger, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Klee and Sheeler.
- More than 15 architectural models, including legendary
prototypes by Le Corbusier, Gerrit Rietveld, Walter Gropius,
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Richard Neutra.
- Futurist and Utopian fashion, including suits, everyday
and sportswear from Italy, Germany, Russia, France and
the United States.
- An entire section relating to the “Healthy Body Culture,” including
X-ray machines, films and photography.
- “Sitting on Air,” an installation of chairs, featuring
the most radical and influential designs of the 20th century
from such designers as Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der
Rohe and Alvar Aalto.
- Life-size figurines from the Triadic Ballet by
the German painter, sculptor and designer Oskar Schlemmer,
who taught life drawing and theater workshops at the Bauhaus.
Works Added by the Corcoran Include:
- Fernand Léger, The Mechanic, 1920, oil on canvas,
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
- Vladimir Tatlin, Monument to the Third International,
designed 1920, model (based on 1920 design), Hirshhorn
Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution
- Piet Mondrian, Tableau No. III 1922-25 with Red,
Black, Yellow, Blue and Grey, oil on canvas, The
Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. © 2007 Mondrian/Holtzman
Trust c/o HCR International, Warrenton, VA
- Wassily Kandinsky, Relations, 1934, oil and
sand on canvas, The Kreeger Museum, Washington, D.C.
- Gerrit Rietveld, Red Blue Chair, 1923, painted
wood, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Philip
- Frank Lloyd Wright, Office Armchair, 1904-06,
painted steel and oak, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Gift of Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., 1948
- Pablo Picasso, Un verre sur une table (A Glass on
a Table), 1913, oil on canvas, Corcoran Gallery
of Art, Washington, D.C.
- Arthur B. Davies, The Great Mother, 1914, oil
on canvas, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
- Stuart Davis, Study for “Swing Landscape,” 1938,
oil on canvas, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
- Gustav Klutsis, Electrification of the Entire Country,
1920, photo montage and mixed media, Merrill C. Berman
- Wallace K. Harrison and J. Andre Fouilhoux (designers),
Theme Center— New York World’s Fair 1939, designed 1937;
executed 1938, model (stainless steel, wood and plastic),
Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection, Genoa
Modernism: Designing a New World 1914-1939 is organized
by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The Corcoran’s
presentation is made possible through the generous support
of Bernard and Sherley Koteen, the Lodestar Fund of the Community
Foundation of the National Capital Region, Vornado/Charles
E. Smith, Design Within Reach, the Dedalus Foundation, Inc.,
and The Solow Art and Architecture Foundation.
Travel assistance is provided by Kimpton Hotels and Amtrak.
This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal
Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Corcoran’s partnerships with Kimpton Hotels and Amtrak
give guests to Washington, D.C. an opportunity to take
advantage of special travel packages during the run of Modernism,
March 17 to July 29, 2007. Visitors can
immerse themselves in Modernism through an exclusive
offer from Kimpton Hotels—the “Mod in the City” package.
Available on weekends at Hotel Helix, Hotel Palomar and
Topaz Hotel, this package includes one double occupancy
room, two tickets to Modernism, Sunday Brunch
for two at the Corcoran’s
Café des Artistes (tax and gratuity not included)and
a voucher for 10% off at the Corcoran
Museum Shop. Hotel Helix also offerscomplimentary
parking with purchase of the “Mod in the City” package.
The package starts at $229/night and is exclusive of
tax and gratuity. On weekdays, visitors toModernism can
receive a special 15% discount when reserving a room
at Hotel Helix, Hotel Palomar or Topaz Hotel. Guests
can call (800) KIMPTON and ask for the "Mod in the City" Package
or Modernism Rate, or book online by clicking
As part of its partnership with the Corcoran, Amtrak is
offering a 10% discount off lowest available fares to Washington,
D.C. between March 14 and August 1, 2007. Travelers can make
reservations by calling Amtrak at (800) 872-7245 or contacting
a local travel agent and referencing Convention Fares Code
X75L-969. This code cannot be used for Internet reservations
and is not valid on Auto Train. The special fare is valid
on Acela service for all departures seven days a week, except
for holiday blackouts, and is valid on Sleepers, Business
Class or First Class seats with payment of the full applicable
Tickets are available online by clicking
here or through Ticketmaster at (866) 448-7849. Cost
is $14 adults, $12 senior/military and $10 students. Corcoran
members and children under six years old are free. Modernism
hours of admission are as follows: Sunday, Monday and Wednesday,
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Tuesday.
The Press Preview will be held on Tuesday, March 13, 2007,
at 10:30 a.m. at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 Seventeenth
Street, Washington, D.C. For more information, media may
contact PR@corcoran.org or
202 639 1867.
ABOUT THE CORCORAN
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, a privately funded institution,
was founded in 1869 as Washington’s first and largest non-federal
museum of art. It is known internationally for its distinguished
collection of historical and modern American art as well
as contemporary art, photography, European painting, sculpture
and the decorative arts. Founded in 1890, the Corcoran
College of Art + Design is Washington’s only four-year
college of art and design offering BFA degrees in Photojournalism,
Digital Media Design, Fine Art, Graphic Design and Photography;
AFA degrees in Digital Media Design, Fine Art, Graphic
Design and Photography; a five-year Bachelor of Fine Arts/Master
of Arts in Teaching (BFA/MAT); and a two-year Master of
Arts (MA) in Interior Design or History of Decorative Arts.
The College’s Continuing Education program offers part-time
credit and non-credit classes for children and adults and
draws more than 2,500 participants each year.
Manager of Media Relations
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