EXTRAORDINARY ORDINARY THINGS

July 24, 2021

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA

Humans have made functional objects since prehistoric times: furnishings to sit or lay upon, vessels to store or drink water, devices to illuminate the darkness or mark the passage of time. Featuring more than 300 objects — including some 150 recent acquisitions — from the museum’s expansive decorative arts and design collection, Extraordinary Ordinary Things marks the first significant update to the Ailsa Mellon Bruce Galleries since 2009.

Spanning some of the most significant design developments of the past three centuries, the works on view offer boundless inspiration and endless possibilities for functional design for visitors to learn about, consider, and enjoy. This exhibition presents a selection of functional objects ranging from the evocative and extraordinary to the practical and everyday and highlights signature works by designers including:

Tanya Aguiñiga, Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Zaha Hadid, Charles Harrison, Molly Hatch, Thomas Heatherwick, Joris Laarman, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Isamu Noguchi, Magdalene Odundo, Jay Sae Jung Oh, Charlotte Perriand, Raw-Edges, Zahara Schatz, Studio DRIFT, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Eva Zeisel

Extraordinary Ordinary Things invites visitors to imagine themselves in the roles of problem-solvers, designers, and makers. The show also helps visitors better understand the worlds in which designers and craftspeople work. As many people’s relationships to their homes and the objects within them take on increased relevance and deeper meaning, this timely and dynamic exhibition showcases all facets of material and product design, from traditional techniques to innovative technologies.

Extraordinary Ordinary Things is organized by Rachel Delphia, Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design with Alyssa Velazquez, curatorial assistant for Decorative Arts and Design.

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