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Review of "Future Perfect: Mid-Century Modern Design Drawings"
By Alan G. Artner
Tribune art critic
Published January 16, 2009

"Future Perfect: Mid-Century Modern Design Drawings": The underlying premise of this small show of drawings, models and prototypes at Architech is that the streamlining characteristic of 1920s and 1930s design underwent a major change after World War II. And the point is well-taken. From 1946 to 1969, the earlier machine aesthetic yielded to impulses no less optimistic but more eccentric, pressing organic and biomorphic shapes into the service of a utopian vision.

The premise is illustrated by drawings from Chicagoans Henry Glass, Bertrand Goldberg and R.G. Martelet, though Glass contributes the lion's share. Here invention is matched by an equally unusual range of color and an often exclamatory treatment of the drawings themselves. These are not only sheets to be presented to clients; they're frequently also displays in which images and text are dynamically related to produce formally charged compositions. "Space-age" design is the catch-all term for work done during this period, and that certainly applies to the Goldberg and Martelet drawings, but Glass is often out there by himself, taking inspiration from many sources. Fascinating.

At 730 N. Franklin St., through March 28. 312-475-1290.


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David Jameson
ArchiTech Gallery
730 North Franklin suite 200
Chicago, IL 60610

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