joy magnetism: Shaping the future

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Shaping the future

Magnet #708 - Eero Saarinen's Gateway to the West Arch

Earlier this week, some random Tweet popped up about the Eero Saarinen exhibit leaving the Museum of the City of New York on January 31st. I didn't even know it was around, and it's been here since November!

But, yay for that random Tweet, because I squeezed it in this morning, and I'm so very glad I did. Loved it. I think what I like about architectural retrospectives are the cool building models. I just love looking at the cool fake buildings. Granted, every time I see them, I think of Michelle Pfeiffer running around New York City trying to repair her own building model, and then ending the night kissing George Clooney in One Fine Day, but there really is something neat about being able to draw something, and then getting it built.

Of course, today was one of the last gallery tours, which means they were inundated with people, and it was hard to enjoy the tour because of all the bodies. But MCNY did a fantastic job setting up the exhibition. Apparently, it's been traveling since 2006, and when it leaves here, it heads for Yale to close out the 4-year-tour.

His work covers a very specific time - the 1950s (and early 60s) - that's when he was most successful, working for prominent corporations and individuals, before he passed away way too young at 51. For those of you who haven't seen Eero Saarinen's work (not to be confused with his pop, Eliel Saarinen), you totally, totally have. If you've seen the Arch in St. Louis on this magnet, you have. If you've ever flown out of Dulles, you have. If you've seen one of those cool Knoll womb chairs, you have.

It's weird how I didn't know how much of his work I've seen before. But, I was quite charmed by the fact that in addition for having designed their technical building (the supercool blue on in this blogpost) , he als0 did a ton of corporate design work for IBM - product brochures and even the neat 1964 World's Fair IBM egg.

I'm sad I didn't get to spend more time reading all the placards and looking at the models, I really just buzzed right through. Otherwise, I'd probably still be rattling off many more facts and figures and quotes and buildings than you wanted to know.

I guess it's not for everyone, as I had to dodge the guy sleeping in his wheelchair...and that was even before we entered the exhibition space!
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