To accompany the long awaited exhibition ‘Mid-Century Modern: Australian
Furniture Design’at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square,
the NGV has published a catalogue that can only be described as a sumptuous
feast of contemporary photographs of Australian Mid-Century Modern furniture
and lighting. There is also a collection of essays that provide a sound context for
what the NGV describe as “the first major survey and in-depth look at one of the
most innovative and influential periods (1940s to 1970s) in Australian design”.
Kirsty Grant, curator of the exhibition, provides an overview of furniture design
from the period, and Conrad Hamann contributes an in-depth text on mid-century
architecture, the natural counterpart of furniture. Denise Whitehouse writes about
Grant Featherston, while Peter Atkins considers the careers of Clement Meadmore
and lesser known Michael Hirst. Additional texts approach mid-century Australian
furniture design from four different perspectives: that of the architect, by
Neil Clerehan; the designer, by Mary Featherston; the conservator, by Suzanna
Shaw; and the collector, by Dean Keep.
The catalogue, a The 224 page hard cover book, is filled to the brim with
beautifully composed images of iconic pieces designed by key designers, including
Grant Featherston, Clement Meadmore, Fred Lowen and George Korody. I had a
chance to get a sneak preview of the catalogue, and I have to say that it’s the
perfect companion piece to the what must be the most anticipated exhibition in
Chair designed by George Korody and desk by Schulum Krimper c.1950’s.
The Mid-Century Modern: Australian Furniture Design catalogue fills an enormous
gap in the knowledge around our post-war design history and it is sure to please
anyone with a passion for Australian Mid-Century furniture design. At only $39.95,
its an exceptionally good buy.
If you would like to hear NGV Senior Curator Kirsty Grant (Curator, Mid-Century
Modern) and Denise Whitehouse (Senior Lecturer in Design, History and Theory,
Swinburne University) in conversation with Fenella Kernebone, then tune in to the
ABC Radio program BY DESIGN at 9.00am this Saturday 31st May.
You can purchase a copy of the sumptuous catalogue at the Ian Potter Centre:
NGV Australia or order it from the NGV online bookshop.
Now if you’ll be kind enough to excuse me, it’s back to reading the catalogue.