The Wolfsonian / Celebrating Democracy / Interview with Director Cathy Leff

The Wolfsonian design museum in the Art Deco district of Miami Beach, Florida, was founded in 1986 by Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. to show his personal design collection. In 1997 he donated the collection and its building to Florida International University. The museum mostly focuses on the late 19th to mid 20th century design.
In this video, Director Cathy Leff gives an introduction to The Wolfsonian, its collection and its education and research programme – and talks about the current exhibitions.

Considering that they have been planned long in advance, the current exhibitions show a remarkable actuality. Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the New Deal, A Bittersweet Decade: The New Deal in America, 1933-43 explores how the government’s patronage of art, design, and architecture were integral parts of the larger project of the New Deal. The exhibition runs until January 19, 2009.
Thoughts on Democracy is an exhibition comprised of posters created by 60 leading contemporary artists and designers, invited by The Wolfsonian to create a new graphic design inspired by American illustrator Norman Rockwell’sFour Freedoms“ posters of 1943. Some of the participating artists involved in the project are Neville Brody, Lawrence Weiner, Paula Scher, among others.
In honor of contemporary Dutch graphic designer Wim Crouwel’s (also known as “Gridnik”) 80th birthday, The Wolfsonian is juxtaposing a selection of his work, with The Wolfsonian’s early twentieth century Dutch and European graphic design collection. The exhibition, Gridnik: Wim Crouwel and Modern Typography runs until March 10, 2009.
American Streamlined Design: The World of Tomorrow (runs until May 17, 2009) presents 150 examples of streamlined design: furniture, ceramics, metalwork, plastics, graphic design, and archival design books.

Like every year, The Wolfsonian greats Art Basel Miami Beach with a special party. This year’s cocktail reception bore the title Celebrating Democracy and featured Democrazy, an installation by Francesco Vezzoli, and a special multi-media performance by Elliott Earls (inspired by the exhibit Thoughts on Democracy).

The Wolfsonian – Florida International University, Miami Beach. December 5, 2008.

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