Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America is the first major museum exhibition to present the concept of play in mid-twentieth century American design as a catalyst for creativity. Beginning in the late 1940s, following the trauma of World War II, American designers intentionally intertwined work and play to generate designs characterized by innovation and whimsy. Led by the exhibition’s co-curator Darrin Alfred, this guided tour will provide a glimpse into how these forward-looking and optimistic designers believed that play was not adjacent to their process, but essential to it. Don’t miss this special opportunity to hear behind-the-scenes stories into the development of Serious Play.
Co-organized by the Denver Art Museum and Milwaukee Art Museum, Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America presents more than 250 works by such celebrated designers as Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, and Eva Zeisel, in addition to many lesser-known designers, including Henry P. Glass, Estelle and Erwin Laverne, and Paul Rand. Rejecting uniformity, these designers embraced the newfound freedom of the postwar era to create imaginative home décor, inventive children’s furniture and toys, and corporate identities with a playful spirit. Visitors to Serious Play can appreciate that play, today as in the mid-twentieth century, can be a serious and significant tool to discover new ideas and allow one’s imagination to soar.