“Modern by Design: Chicago Streamlines America” reveals how Chicago brought cutting-edge modern design to the American marketplace on a scale unmatched by any other city. The exhibition focuses on 1930s–50s, a critical period in American history. It presents issues of design and aesthetics within the larger social, economic and cultural context of the time and explores how the city’s hosting of the 1933-34 World’s Fair, its industries, advertising firms and mail order companies advanced modern design on local, regional and national levels. Innovative designs coupled with the might of Chicago’s manufacturing and distribution infrastructure led to mass production of affordable state-of-the-art products featuring a new urban-inspired aesthetic that furnished public and private spaces across the country.
The exhibition includes more than 200 objects, photographs and documents, many on view for the first time. The works of many celebrated designers, such as Alfonso Iannelli, Otis Shephard and Wolfgang Hoffmann will be featured.
“Modern by Design: Chicago Streamlines America” is curated by Olivia Mahoney, Senior Curator at the Chicago History Museum.