“Shaping Modernity” attempts to reveal the way previous generations have shaped their experience living in the modern world. The exhibition features roughly 300 works from the Museum’s collection including objects, graphics, architectural remnants, and textiles. Works are organized into five installations based on period-specific themes: Art Nouveau objects and posters from 1890 to 1914; posters and graphics of the New Typography movement (1927–37); works from 1925 to 1940; a survey of the influential Good Design movement (1944–56); and works from the 1960s and 1970s that merged the clean and elegant forms of modern design with new materials, colors, and forms.
Through exploring a century of aesthetic and technological innovation from the late 19th to late 20th century, “Shaping Modernity” presents a visual timeline that illustrates the developments society has made on their path to the modern day.
From iconic works by designers including Charles and Ray Eames to unexpected items such as a hunting bow to everyday items like Tupperware, the section “What was Good Design“ showcases mix of domestic furnishings, appliances, sporting goods, and graphics. MoMA’s survey of mid-century design takes commonplace objects and innovative ideas from the period following World War II and uses them as examples for the primary values of what makes “good design”.