Modernism in American Silver: 20th Century Design
The Wolfsonian, Miami Beach, Fla.
Nov. 10, 2006–March 25, 2007

  • Credit: The Wolfsonian

More than 200 works of American silver convey the rich aesthetic possibilities of a timeless material. From the 1920s forward, craftsmen and industrial designers experimented in Art Moderne, avant-garde, and “machine age” styles. After World War II, silversmiths adopted the freeform profiles of space-age art and fashion. This traveling exhibition, organized by the Dallas Museum of Art, shows that despite the gloss of celebrity designers like Robert Venturi, Michael Graves, and Richard Meier, contemporary silver has yet to regain the glow it enjoyed before the decline of formal dining.


Simply Droog: 10+3 Years of Creating Innovation and Discussion
Museum of Arts & Design
New York

Through Jan. 14, 2007
Deconstructivism never looked so disheveled as in Tejo Remy's reconstituted chest of old drawers, one of the widely admired provocations from Droog, the Dutch design collaborative founded by Gijs Bakker and Renny Ramakers in the early 1990s. The group takes its name from the Dutch word for “dry,” as in wit, introducing modest, environmentally conscious designs as an antidote to the mindless consumerism of the 1980s. A traveling retrospective includes 150 pieces that turned the tide of style.
Breaking the Mode: Contemporary Fashion from the Permanent Collection
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles
Through Jan. 7, 2007
Over 100 examples of subversive dress show how 40 fashion designers revolutionized the structure, materials, and technology of contemporary clothing. Just as architects designed their way out of the box, fashion designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier, Issey Miyake, and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons have moved beyond the hourglass as an ideal female form.

Sustainable Architecture in Chicago: Works in Progress
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Through Jan. 6, 2007
This companion exhibition to Massive Change: The Future of Global Design provides a real-world anchor to the traveling exhibition curated by Canadian designer Bruce Mau. Taken together, the shows describe how design may take the world to a better future, and how some Chicago architects are pushing beyond convention today.

Solar and wind-powered energy systems, greenhouses, and nest-like porches marry technology and aesthetics in such projects as the Ford Calumet Environmental Center, designed by Studio Gang Architects; the Pacific Garden Mission, designed by Tigerman McCurry Architects; Gensler's Hyatt Regency Lower Wacker Exhibition Hall and Riverwalk Renovation project; and Farr Associates' office building and adjacent eco-park for Greenworks.

Seven works in progress show environmentally responsible approaches to land use, materials, and energy consciousness in support of Mayor Richard Daley's vision for “the greenest city in America.”


Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture
The Museum of Contemporary Art
Los Angeles
Nov. 19, 2006–March 5, 2007
  • Credit: Chris Moore

Architectonic garments and clothing stores are the starting points for the latest exhibition by MOCA's curator of architecture and design, Brooke Hodge. The show includes some 300 objects by fashion-forward architects and designers such as Herzog & de Meuron and Viktor & Rolf.
Connections: West End Bridge Competition
Heinz Architectural Center
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
Through Dec. 10
  • Credit: Carnegie Museum of Art

On display are the winners and finalists in a contest to design a pedestrian bridge on the Pittsburgh riverfront.

The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design
National Building Museum
Washington, D.C.
Through June 3, 2007

  • Credit: Peter Hyatt, National Building Museum

Innovative green residences from around the world and a furnished modular house by California modernist architect Michelle Kaufmann provide a consumer-friendly picture of eco-friendly design. Above: A house in Australia, by 1 + 2 Architecture.


Charles Sheeler: Across Media
The Art Institute of Chicago
Through Jan. 7, 2007
Equally adept with brush and camera, artist Charles Sheeler (1883–1965) helped introduce America to the beauty of the machine. Organized by the National Gallery of Art, the exhibit includes iconic Sheeler works such as Criss-Crossed Conveyors, from a 1927 photo essay of Ford's River Rouge plant.


National Design Triennial: Design Life Now
Cooper-Hewitt National Design
Museum, New York
Dec. 8, 2006–July 29, 2007
For the third time since 2000, a team of curators assesses contemporary design culture at the front lines. Leading artists and practitioners point the way forward in disciplines as diverse as architecture, animation, and medicine. Only the prosaic will be left behind.


Biedermeier: The Invention of Simplicity
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee
Through Jan. 1, 2007
The first comprehensive exhibition of Biedermeier in North America and Europe offers 300 furnishings from early 19th century Germany, Austria, and Bohemia. From Milwaukee, the exhibit will move to Vienna, Berlin, and Paris.

Made to Scale: Staircase Masterpieces, The Eugene & Clare Thaw Gift
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York
Through June 3, 2007
A rare sighting of 19th century French staircase models offers technical virtuosity and design fancy on an intimate tabletop scale.


Some Assembly Required: Contemporary Prefabricated Houses
Yale University School of Architecture
New Haven, Conn.
Through Feb. 2, 2007
Eight studios, including Resolution: 4 Architecture, Steven Holl, and Michelle Kaufmann, take prefabricated dwellings to the next level.


Looking Back From Ground ZeroThe Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Through Jan. 7, 2007

  • Credit: Alfred Eisenstaedt

Images of lower Manhattan, from the museum's permanent collection, mark the five-year anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. Above: An Alfred Eisenstaedt photo of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1983.


New American City: Artists Look Forward
Arizona State University Art Museum
Tempe, Ariz.
Through Jan. 27, 2007
Local artists weigh in on the future of Phoenix, a city beset by astronomical growth despite the supposed limits of its desert setting. Best in show: Matthew Moore's field of not-so-sweet dreams. This fourth-generation farmer trimmed his sorghum and black-bearded wheat crops to resemble the suburban development likely to rise as his family sells out.


Streamline Design: The Essence of Speed
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Minneapolis
Through Sept. 28, 2007
The acquisition of a 1936 Tatra T87 automobile inspired this display of aerodynamicism in objects by 20th century design superstars Norman Bel Geddes, Raymond Loewy, and Henry Dreyfuss. Also on view is the Minneapolis Institute's new wing, by Michael Graves.