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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Object of the Week: Disaster Print


Many screen prints explore the beauty of flora, entice us to see elegant forms of wildlife, and represent common objects in delightful ways. This piece skillfully uses texture and color to relate the violence of an earthquake that hit Ghana on June 22, 1939. This 20-30 second quake registered 6.5 on the Richter scale and could be felt by people living up to 750,000 km away. The flat areas of color in the clenched fist, lightning bolts, and snapping palm trees highlight the aggression of natural disasters against a backdrop of finely detailed building structures.

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Screen print on cotton, 2 color ways, 1940-1945, Artist unknown, Gift of Janna DeLue

Many cultures around the world hold belief in something akin to the evil eye, whereby bad things are brought on by the malevolent glares of powerful beings. The blatant use of symbolism in this print indicates a culture that recognizes the diminutive nature of mankind. The building depicted on the bottom of the print is the colonial-era General Post Office of Ghana, which still stands today as a post office and bank. The time on the clock tower reads 7:20, the exact time the earthquake struck.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Object of the Week: Spacecraft or Kitchen Appliance?


Though it looks as if it would feel at home on Mars, this 11.75 - inch tall hand juicer would more likely be found on a kitchen counter.


Juicer, 1990
Phillip Starck for Alessi

Monday, March 9, 2015

What is this? Object of the Week: Constructivism


Joaquín Torres-García (1874-1949), renowned artist born to an Uruguayan mother and Catalan father, was considered the father of Latin American Constructivism. Torres-García's life and work had significant presence in many regions including Uruguay, Catalonia, France, and the United States. As a young artist he collaborated with architect Antonio Gaudi, creating stained glass windows for a cathedral in Mallorca. He was also part of a counter-Surrealist movement in France during the early 20th century, and worked on many Constructivist related publications.

"Arte Constructivo" Joaquín Torres García, 1943 source:

Around 1920 Torres-García started designing complex toys that contradicted common preconceptions about the simplicity of children's building blocks. This wood block set, purchased in 2014 at the Museo Torres-García in Uruguay, is a re-issue of one of his early 20th century designs. The 10 blocks can be reconfigured into nine different dogs.



Juguettes Transformables, Joaquín Torres García, 2014 (re-issue of circa 1920 set), Gift of Brad Hokanson

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Legacy in the GMD Collection

We remember Margot Siegel with a look at her contribution to the GMD collection

The Goldstein Museum of Design said farewell to one of its most ardent supporters, Margot Siegel, a lifetime member and donor, who passed away on February 24. As the daughter of Jeanne Auerbacher, a revered buyer for Dayton's Oval Room, Siegel began developing her keen eye for fashion at a young age. After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1944, Siegel drew on her vast knowledge of design throughout her long career. She worked for publications like Women's Wear Daily, wrote the book Look Forward to a Career! Fashion (1970), and contributed to the Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion (Charles Scribner's Sons, 2005).

Left: image of Siegel from the Star Tribune, 1942; Right: (left to right) Margot's business partner Gloria Hogan, designer Bonnie Cashin, and Siegel

Her long list of accomplishments also includes founding Friends of the Goldstein Museum at the University of Minnesota. Additionally, for more than 40 years, the always fashionable Siegel continually donated pieces from her personal collection to the Goldstein Museum of Design - making a particularly substantial contribution to the breadth and quality of the costume collection. She will be deeply missed. A selection of her generous gifts is featured below.

Evening Dress with Matching Stole and Handbag, Nettie Rosenstein, 1940-1945, Gift of Margot Siegel (1975.002.012a-d)

Wool dress and jacket, Pauline Trigere, 1950-1959, Gift of Margot Siegel (1975.002.007a-b)

Jacket and skirt, Emilio Pucci, 1960-1969, gift of Margot Siegel (1982.073.001a-b)

Left: knit dress, Missoni, 1970-1979, gift of Margot Siegel (1987.040.003); Right: knit blouse and skirt, Missoni, 1970-1979, gift of Margot Siegel (1987.040.006a-b)

Palazzo pants, Donald Brooks, 1970-1979, Gift of Margot Siegel, (1975.006.002)

Grey wool dress, Donna Karan, 1984-1985, gift of Margot Siegel (1993.060.005)