Where in the city can you find a climbing wall, an inflatable chair, a 12-foot-tall desk lamp, oh, and a table-building robot all in one place? At the High’s latest exhibit - Modern by Design. In an ongoing collaboration with New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA,) the High Museum of Art does a double-take with kitchen implements and mesmerizes the imagination. Featuring over 150 works from 120 artists, this exhibit is an absolute must-see!
Modern by Design
Through August 14
High Museum of Art
Commissioned by the High, Digital Matter is a kinetic installation (nicknamed Abbey, or ABB) featuring a robotic arm which builds ornate furniture from voxels (thousands of tiny metal cubes.) ABB creator, Joris Laarman “wanted to create things that are going to be popular in 10 years, but are still a bit science-fiction at the moment.” He hopes ABB will spur communities to refocus on localized, sustainable production and workforces, but for now he’s content to watch curious onlookers fawn over his “reprogrammable, recyclable metal Legos.”
One floor up, Machine Art displays 18 pragmatic pieces of the New Deal era. This iteration includes cunningly crafted bearings, springs, calipers and other American-made tools which were first displayed by MoMA in 1934, contributing to an flurry of spending and job placement five years into the Great Depression.
Explore the beauty of frugality in the Good Design section – curated from a collection prize-winning pieces from MoMA’s post-WWII design competitions. Alongside one of the first Herman Miller Eames lounge chairs you’ll find a beautifully balanced ax, a sewing machine and even an array of prototype Tupperware. This room is dedicated to exposing the inherent artistry found in intelligent, affordable design (and also creates an intriguing parallel with today’s cheap-chic economy.)
In the adjacent room, the somewhat whimsical, IKEA-esque collection of Italy: The New Domestic Landscape plays with proportion and pre-conceived function to create an intriguing living pod and larger-than-life desk lamp.
Finally, the top floor features pieces from the High’s own modern collection. The fruits of a four-year acquisition mission include Bone Armchair (also by Laarman,) the Visible Structures (furniture constructions of Styrofoam reinforced with graphite tape) commission from Japanese collective nendo, and other pieces of late-twentieth and early-twenty-first-century design.