Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Future is Eero

A watercolor of the TWA Terminal at New York's JFK Airport, circa 1955

In October 2006 the Helsinki Kunsthalle opened the first retrospective to study the entire career of legendary Finnish-born American architect and designer, Eero Saarinen. The exhibition will then travel to Oslo, Brussels, Detroit, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, St. Louis, New York City and New Haven, Connecticut, where it will make its final stop in 2010 at the Yale University Art Gallery, the university from which Saarinen graduated with a degree in architecture in 1936.

Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future, organized by lead curator Donald Albrecht, offers a unique opportunity for enthusiasts to view the complete archives of Saarinen's office, which were given to Yale in 2002. All aspects of the architect's work from the 1930s until his death in 1961 are covered in the exhibition, as well as its dual catalogues and documentary film. Highlighted projects include the St. Louis Gateway Arch, New York's TWA Terminal and Dulles International in Washington DC. His furniture designs, as well as plans for universities and civic centers, are also included, as are never-before-seen sketches, drawings, models, photographs, films and other ephemera from various archives and private collections.

The goal of the exhibition was to study the global effects of Saarinen's work. In order to meet that challenge, and in a nod to collaboration, a process in which Saarinen believed, an international group of scholars and curators was brought together to bring different perspectives on the relevance of Saarinen's work, both in its time and today. Shaping the Future shines new light on the era that turned simply being modern into what we now know as Modernism.

The definitive reader, Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future, published by Yale University Press, 2006

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