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Radical: Italian Design 1965–1985 The Dennis Freedman Collection

FEBRUARY 14 - APRIL 26, 2020
MFAH | THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON | USA

Nearly 50 years after MoMA’s defining 1972 survey, Italy: The New Domestic Landscape, this exhibition is the first major U.S. museum exhibition to assess this now-iconic movement from a historical perspective.

Studio65, “Chiocciola” Chair, designed 1972, made 1973, polyurethane foam and upholstery, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Dennis Freedman Collection, gift of Dennis Freedman.
© 1972 Studio65 / Kent Pell, photographer

Coined by Germano Celant, the term “Radical” described a specific strain of practice featuring conceptual, often one-of-a-kind, handmade art and design objects that abandoned practicality and defied consumerism.

The exhibition presents nearly 70 pieces of furniture, lighting design, architectural models, paintings, and objects; of these, about half are gifts of the American collector Dennis Freedman. Rare prototypes, one-of-a-kind, and limited edition works by architects, designers, and collectives such as Archizoom Associati, Lapo Binazzi, Ugo La Pietra, Alessandro Mendini, Gianni Pettena, Ettore Sottsass, Studio Alchimia, Superstudio and others will be on view. In the words of critic Germano Celant these designers aimed to “disrupt the significance of thing’s use” and create “practically perverse and senseless” objects in pursuit of a new language and new role for modern design.

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