Sunday, April 19, 2009

Modern times

From 21 March to 12 July an exhibition, Modern times: the untold story of modernism in Australia, produced by the Powerhouse Museum is being held at the Heide Museum of Modern Art. Powerhouse Museum produced a book on topic edited by Ann Stephen, Philip Goad and Andrew McNamara in 2008. The book and the exhibition looked at how modernism transformed design in Australia from 1917 to 1967 and the cultural changes that were impacted on by modernism. The affects of modernism on art, advertising, photography, film, fashion, furniture and architecture are discussed.

The book consists of a series of 25 articles arranged in five broad topics - Abstract in Australia; Bodies & bathers; City living; Designs on the space age and Electric signs and spectacles. The book is well illustrated with photographs and just browsing through the photographs brings back many memories of what became everyday objects that looked modern and challenging when first designed. The design of swimwear and swimming pools, milk bars and bars in pubs, furniture by Featherston and major buildings such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Myer Music Bowl as well as electric signs such as the Skipping Girl sign are some of the legacies of modernism in Australian design.

The Heide website - - contains information about the exhibition and also a podtour for those interested in additional information.

Art Deco in Australia is another book on this topic.

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