Two Harry Bertoia exhibitions at the Museum of Arts and Design
June 22, 2016
through September 25, 2016
The multi-talented mid-century artist Harry Bertoia is the subject of concurrent exhibitions at the Museum of Arts and Design. While most famous for his “Diamond Chair,” which is still produced by Knoll, the exhibitions focus on two of his other passions, sculpting and jewelry making.
Bertoia attended the Art School of the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts before receiving a scholarship to attend Cranbrook Academy of Art, a bastion of Modern design and architecture. He did well enough that he was asked to lead the school’s metal workshop. However, the year was 1939, and as the war effort intensified he was forced to focus on small scale metalwork such as jewelry. Of Bertoia’s hundreds of pieces of jewelry, most were produced during this time. Fittingly, this exhibition, “Bent, Cast, and Forged: The Jewelry of Harry Bertoia,” comes directly from the Cranbrook Art Museum. In addition to the unique, experimental jewelry, print monotypes offer a glimpse into the early years of this creative life.
The concurrent sculpture exhibition, “Atmosphere for Enjoyment: Harry Bertoia's Environment for Sound,” attempts to capture the auditory as well visual experience of Bertoia’s tonal sculptures which became known as “Sonambiant.” His metal sculptures, Sonambient and otherwise, became quite popular and could be commonly found in Modern buildings and public spaces, including the Manufacturer’s Hanover Trust Company in Manhattan, which had two Bertoia sculptures that were removed, then returned after public outcry. On the Harry Bertoia foundation website you can listen to a sample of the Sonambient sculptures and also see a list of his public works.
Through September 25
Museum of Arts and Design