Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Memphis Milano at the Dixon

I've been interested in the Memphis Group (1981-1988) ever since I first learned of it. There was an exhibition here at the Brooks Museum in 1984, but that's been a while. This exhibit at the Dixon Gallery included a variety of pieces. My favorite piece was Ivory, a side table by Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007):

photo from Pinterest

There were some teapots on display (so I'm linking to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's Tea Tuesday gathering). The teapots included this one from 1982, part of the Anchorage collection by Peter Shire:

image from MFA
It is described as "anything but an ordinary teapot, challenging its core function as a receptacle for hot beverages". Another work by Peter Shire that particularly struck me was the Bel Air armchair:

image from ixlar

There was a teapot, sugar bowl, and cup and saucer by Matteo Thun (b. 1952). Here's the cup and saucer:

photo from Pinterest

There were two teapots by Marco Zanini, the Colorado and the Sepik:
from Memphis-Milano.com
from Memphis-Milano.com

I also got a kick out of Zanini's Dublin sofa (1981):

photo from Pinterest

The Dixon describes the exhibit on its website this way:
A retrospective look at the flamboyant and colorful furniture and household objects produced by the Memphis collective between 1981 and 1988. Based in Milan, these iconoclastic architects and designers helped define the look of a generation. Memphis-Milano includes over 150 iconic works that date from its founding in 1981 through 1988, when the group disbanded. By then, Memphis was already part of design history. Sponsored by Karen and Dr. Preston Dorsett; Liz and Tommy Farnsworth; and Nancy and Steve Morrow.

You can see photos from the exhibit here and here. Here's a 40 second video showing some of the exhibit:


from the Memphis Magazine review:
Kevin Sharp, the Dixon’s director, characterizes the objects that the “Memphis” movement produced as “radical reinterpretations of familiar forms, forms that were as smart as they were surprising.” Visitors to this eye-popping show will be both amazed — and amused — by the sheer volume of pieces on display: 150 vibrant, iconic works, including sofas, chairs, bookshelves, lamps, ceramics and glass objects.
GoMemphis says, "The 150 objects in the show were selected by guest curator Dana Holland-Beickert from the collection of local photographer Dennis Zanone." Zanone has a website here. There is information on his collection here, he has a Flickr stream here, and he administers a Facebook page devoted to the Memphis Group.

24 comments:

  1. Glad you shared that cool video! I really liked the animal themed pieces, especially the "zebra" and bird on the shelf, and at the end I may have caught a quick glimpse before the video cut out of a flamingo head. I'll have to look again! Of course, I loved those unusual tea pots, too!

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    1. I think there were never enough of the furniture pieces to make it possible for them to catch on in average homes, but I still sometimes see their influence. Or I think I do ;)

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  2. Hello and Happy T Day!! These were so cool to see, creative and fun!! Thanks so much for sharing them!!!

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    1. Glad you liked it. Happy T Day!

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  3. A very interesting group of artists in the exhibit. I would have thought the pieces came from an earlier period for some reason. I like the tea pots but probably couldn't live with them. I'd give the cup and saucer space in my cupboard in a minute though.

    Darla

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    1. Yes, I would definitely give that cup and saucer a good home :)

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  4. Those tea pots are quite jaw dropping, but very cool. My favorite is the Bel Air armchair. That is a great video you shared, thanks for doing so.
    Happy T-day.....great post!

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    1. I wanted to sit on that chair soooo bad! lol

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  5. Some of the furniture was really clever, like the side table and the Bel Air chair, but the chair at the end of the video looked quite uncomfortable to me. Really enjoyed seeing this collection, and was amazed at the teapots. Thanks SO much for sharing this fun exhibit for T this Tuesday.

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    1. They did explore the limits of functionality, didn't they!

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  6. great designs and video - thank you for sharing! Happy T-Day !

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    1. Glad you liked it :) Happy T Tuesday!

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  7. WOW. this is a brilliant show, I adore these works! ...I've not heard of these designers before. The pieces wouldn't fit in my house since we have 'early american hand-me-downs' but they are amazing, colorful and true works of art. maybe not always comfortable to sit in, though. lol! thanks for sharing...

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    1. I'm decorated in random eclectic ;) but have little space. Most of the furniture would be too big to fit. Or that's my excuse lol

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  8. That was so COOL! Thank you so much for sharing!!! Lets see my favorite would have to be the Bel Air armchair...not my decorating style but
    still pretty cool!! Hugs! deb

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    1. I like that chair, too. I'm thinking I should make room by my bedside.... ;)

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  9. Those are the wildest teapots I have ever seen! For some reason this style made me think of the Jetsons--LOL! They are out of this world and a bit cartoonish. Loved them!
    Happy T-Day! :)

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  10. Wow, how wonderful to have seen these pieces!! I'm not sure how practical the teapots would actually be, haha, but thanks so much for sharing them with us. Happy T Day :o))

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    1. I think the usefulness of the teapots is a legitimate issue. I wonder if anybody's ever actually used one for tea. That'd be a tea party I'd enjoy!

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  11. It's really amazing that people to see the art that people come up with :) thanks for educating us--me anyway--on this exhibit!! Happy T day :)

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    1. There are a lot of creative people around, aren't there! Happy T Day :)

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  12. Amazing teapot! Like a bird by Picasso or something. I absolutely could see myself owning that sofa, very practical with those built-in side tables.

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