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  • Cold War Modern: Design 1945-1970

Crowley, David and Pavitt, Jane, 2008, Show, Exhibition or Event, Cold War Modern: Design 1945-1970

Abstract or Description:

This exhibition, conceived and co-curated by Crowley and Pavitt (RCA), was part of a 12-year series of major shows dedicated to 20th-century design at the V&A Museum, London. It explored the influence of cold war politics and anxieties on modernist art, design and architecture after 1945. It featured c.300 objects including works of art, design, photography, film and architecture from c.20 countries.

For this four-year research project, Crowley and Pavitt divided roles equally. Crowley was, with Pavitt, the co-editor and author of a large proportion of the 319-page accompanying book (2008), and his essays were translated into Polish (2009) and Italian (2012). Crowley also wrote a short popular book, Posters of the Cold War (2008), and numerous related articles in popular titles such as History Today (2008).
The AHRC (2006), V&A and RCA supported Crowley’s research. He worked closely with architects and designers active in the period c.1945–70, and in numerous archives and collections in Europe and North America, to research and select exhibits. Many were ‘discovered’ by the curators and exhibited for the first time. Moreover, the exhibition set out to create new paradigms for thinking about design during these years. Breaking with the narrow focus on Western models, the exhibition established new frameworks for thinking about modern design during the Khrushchev ‘Thaw’ in Eastern Europe.

In 2009, the exhibition toured to MART Rovereto and the National Gallery, Vilnius, where it was the centrepiece of the European Capital of Culture 2009 programme. An estimated 183,000 people saw the exhibition in its three venues.

‘Cold War Modern’ was widely and enthusiastically reviewed in magazines, newspapers and academic journals worldwide. Crowley was invited to speak on the exhibition and its themes to audiences in the UK, Poland, Serbia, Lithuania, the USA, Bosnia, Hungary and Germany between 2008 and 2010.

Subjects: Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V300 History by topic > V370 History of Design
School or Centre: School of Humanities
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2011 17:51
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2016 16:07
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/526

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