The Milwaukee Art Museum and Denver Art Museum are pleased to announce Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America, an exhibition presenting the concept of playfulness in postwar American design as a catalyst for creativity and innovation. Serious Play will explore how employing playfulness allowed designers to bring fresh ideas to the American home, children's toys, and play spaces and corporate identity. The exhibition opened September 28, 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum and will travel to the Denver Art Museum where it will be on view starting May 5, 2019.
“While midcentury American design may be familiar to some audiences, this exhibition sheds light on work by many designers from the perspective that play can be a serious form of experimentation,” said co-curator Monica Obniski, Demmer Curator of 20th- & 21st-Century Design, Milwaukee Art Museum. “The spirit of play, and its importance to the cultural production of the period, is evidenced by the playful domesticity of Alexander Girard’s storage walls and table settings, as well as by the inventiveness of architects, such as Anne Tyng, who designed modular building toys to encourage creativity in children.”Co-organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Denver Art Museum, Serious Play includes over 200 works. By showcasing iconic objects such as Irving Harper’s Ball Clock for Howard Miller Clock Company and Charles and Ray Eames’s Storage Units (ESUs) for Herman Miller Furniture Company, the exhibition encourages visitors to think about how design connects to their daily lives.