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Modernism Exhibit Depicts the Art in Ordinary Objects

An exhibit at Washington's Corcoran Gallery focuses on the modernism art movement, which grew out of the carnage of World War I. Artists attempted to make objects like chairs and clothing in a more creative and useful fashion.

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  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Consider the chair. Maybe you're sitting on one as you watch this. Is a chair a work of art, something that artists should turn their attention to?

    There are many chairs now on display at Washington's Corcoran Gallery, in an exhibition that celebrates a time when artists cared a great deal about designing objects that would make people's lives, and society as a whole, better off.

  • “Modernism:

    Designing a New World" is a huge exhibition of more than 400 objects and films, spanning the years 1914 to 1939, from many artists and countries, suggesting the breadth of a movement that grew out of the carnage, the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it of World War I.

    CHRISTOPHER WILK, Victoria and Albert Museum: There was a real sense that the whole world had to be rethought, starting from scratch, and that really accounts for you can only describe as the revolutionary character of so much of what's in this exhibition. I call it the built environment.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Christopher Wilk is curator of the exhibition, which originated at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

  • CHRISTOPHER WILK:

    Even though some of these artists, architects, designers were interested in the past, what they spoke about was about creating the new, and they actually used the term "the new" all the time.

    They talked about the new photography, the new architecture, the new typography. They were obsessed with this idea of the new.

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