Friday, March 13, 2009

Italy: The new domestic landscape | Emilio Ambasz, editor | Museum of Modern Art, publisher | 1972 | PART 1

ndl Italy: The new domestic landscape.  Achievements and problems of Italian design.  The book was printed in softcover and hardcover editions, with hardcover running over $100 and softcover at $30 and up.  Occasionally available on eBay or half.com.  The cheapest copy on amazon.com is $50.

The vellum cover is usually found aged brown, so don’t let this condition issue stop you from getting a copy.  It doubles as a pocket that contains loose cutouts of the five items shown above.  That the reader participates in the design process by arranging these as they wish is testimony to the interaction with the user that many designers of the period were striving for.

Italy: The new domestic landscape was an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, shown from May 26 to September 11, 1972.  This book is the exhibition catalog.  It is 432 pages in length with 520 illustrations and 124 color plates.  Emilio Ambasz, driving force behind the exhibition, was born in June, 1943 in Resistencia, Chaco, Argentina.  He studied architecture at Princeton University and earned an M.F.A. in architecture in 1966.

The book is divided into sections that cover objects, environments, historical articles, and critical articles.  The objects were chosen for “formal and technical means, sociocultural implications, and implications of more flexible patterns of use and arrangement.”

They are not solely plastic objects, illustrating instead the design positions that were evolving in Italy in the 1960s and 70s.  In fact, many of them are made of wood, metal, ceramic, marble and glass, just to name a few.  After the objects is a section on environments followed by two sections on historical and critical frames of reference for the exhibition.  It is, of course, a terrific book.  If you’re reading this blog, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to find and get a copy. 

In my research, I’ve often wanted a list of the artists represented at the exhibition and what they exhibited but it doesn’t seem to be available. Part 2 of this post will feature this information.

Library of Congress Data 
Library of Congress catalog card number 73-164878 
ISBN 0-87070-394-3 (softbound)
ISBN 0-87070-393-5 (hardbound)

APA Citation
Ambasz, E., ed. (1972). Italy: The new domestic landscape:  Achievements and problems of Italian design. New York, NY: Museum of Modern Art, NY.

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