“Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America” at the Denver Art Museum

“Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America” at the Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is hosting “Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America.” It is an exhibition that explores how playfulness in postwar American design was a catalyst for creativity and innovation. The exhibition is on view through August 25, 2019.

“During the 1950s and ’60s, a number of factors came together to make this bold design innovation possible. Diverse materials and manufacturing techniques opened up possibilities for new approaches to design and larger-scale production. Larger disposable income and leisure time of a growing middle class offered more possibilities for designers to help Americans discover a new way of living at home through thoughtfully designed objects. An emerging focus on child development prompted an interest in children’s furniture and placed a fresh emphasis on the importance of smart toy design. Pervasive Cold War anxiety created a desire to bring positivity and escapism into everyday spaces. Architects and designers that took advantage of all these new opportunities thrived,” says Denver Art Museum.

This exhibition, a collaboration with the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Denver Art Museum, examines how employing playfulness allowed designers to bring fresh ideas to the American home, children’s toys and play spaces, and corporate identities. The exhibition is organized around three themes — the American home, child’s play, and corporate approaches to design. It includes over 200 works in various media, ranging from works on paper, models, textiles, furniture, and ceramics to films, toys, playground equipment, and product design.


Founder: Louise Blouin  



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