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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mutant materials in contemporary design | Paola Antonelli, editor | Museum of Modern Art, publisher | 1995 | PART 1

Mutant Materials in Contemporary DesignMutant Materials in Contemporary Design.  The book was printed in softcover and hardcover editions, with hardcover running well in excess of $100 at rare book outlets, probably because the covers are by Gaetano Pesce.  They are cheaper at amazon (I managed to snag one for $24).  Softcover can be had at amazon for $14 and up, but I had to do some digging to find one this reasonably priced.

Each cover of the hardcover edition, though mass-produced, is unique.  Polychrome resin is allowed to flow as it will as it casts on the cardboard, producing variegated combinations of color and transparency, thickness and shape.  The resin cover is not attached to the cardboard.  For more information about the the book, click here.

Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design was an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, shown from May 25 to August 27, 1995.  This book is the exhibition catalog.  It is 128 pages in length with 218 illustrations, 107 in color.

The exhibition was organized by Paola Antonelli.  She earned a master's degree in architecture from the Polytechnic of Milan in 1990.  From 1991 to 1993, she lectured in design history and theory at UCLA.  Antonelli joined the Museum of Modern Art in 1994.  An interview with Antonelli can be found here

Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design

One great thing about this exhibition is that it is available online, so click here or on the logo above to be taken to it.  Parts 2 and 3 of this post will focus on the objects in the “Plastics” and “Rubber and Foam” sections, though some of the other sections have items with polymeric components.  The exhibition was divided into the following sections:

Glass
Plastics
Wood
Fibers and Composites
Metals
Rubber and Foam
Ceramics
Other Materials

In the book, the section on plastic materials begins, “Plastics represent the distance that a century of technological progress has put between craftsmanship and industrialization.”  I like the quote.  Compare this exhibition with the “New Domestic Landscape” almost a quarter century earlier.  Not necessarily in content but in the materials represented.  Incredible developments in the polymer industry have given us an astonishing variety of objects.

Library of Congress Data
Library of Congress catalog card number 95-075535
ISBN 0-8109-6145-8 (Abrams softbound)
ISBN 0-87070-132-0 (MoMA/T&H softbound)
ISBN 0-87070-131-2 (MoMA special cover hardbound)

APA Citation
Antonelli, P., ed. (1995). Mutant materials in contemporary design. New York, NY: Museum of Modern Art, NY.

Reference

Designboom, (2000, September). Paola Antonelli. Retrieved April 11, 2009, from Designboom Web site: http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/antonelli.html


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