College of Design

Goldstein Museum of Design

June 26, 2014

Gallery 241 Closes to House Collection During Storage Improvements


After the Signed by Vera: Scarves by an Iconic Designer exhibition closes this Sunday, June 29, Gallery 241 in McNeal Hall will be closed in order to house part of the GMD collection as exciting improvements are made to our storage facilities.

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In Fall 2012, GMD received a grant to develop a plan to redesign and rehouse the collection storage space that has been occupied by the museum since its inception in 1976. This area houses 13,000 items, including textiles, hats, children's garments, quilts, rugs, men's clothing, and all items of historic apparel made prior to 1940. Some objects in this room are stored in cramped non-archival cabinets made of particle board and plastic laminate, while others are stored in 1920s wood cabinets or in acid-free textile boxes stacked high on top of cabinets. Having ample space for each garment lessens the risk of damage by crushing and/or abrasion from other garments. The re-housing of a portion of these collections will significantly enhance their preservation, and facilitate their use in both classroom teaching and outreach programs.
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This summer (2014) GMD will take on approximately one quarter of the developed plan and renovate this area. From June 30-September 18, 2014, we will be closing Gallery 241 in McNeal Hall to temporarily house the collection.

Visit http://goldstein.design.umn.edu/exhibitions/upcoming/ for information on Alexey Brodovitch: Art Director, opening September 19 in Gallery 241 when the storage project is complete.

Objects in image above (left to right):
Straw Hat (1915-1925), Gift of Helen Ludwig
Cotton Flannel Petticoat (1870-1910), Gift of Mrs. William J. Wirth
Child's Red Cotton Dress, Lanz (1950), Gift of Shannon Murphy Pulver
Quilt (1840-1870), Gift of Mrs. Dwight (Helen) Minnich



Posted by Goldstein Museum of Design at 12:36 PM | | Comments (1)

June 10, 2014

Zap the Gap: Help Preserve the Collection through Photography


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Digitization is a critical answer to the balance between studying museum collection objects and preserving them. Digitized museum collections make it possible to share images of design with students, designers, and researchers - potentially everyone with access to a computer while minimizing handling of objects.

Goldstein Museum of Design (GMD) has photographed over 6,000 objects from its 30,000 item collection, making images available on a searchable database on the museum's website. The grant that funded this work expired this winter. Raising $10,000 by the end of the fiscal year will allow this important project to continue.

Open the collection storeroom doors wide! Give a gift of $100 today. Your donation can help students experience design across time and cultures.

Increasingly, students do most of their research on the web. Faculty members report that in some classes, every student relies on GMD's digitized collections database for their major project. Some students find inspiration for new designs after studying on-line images of collection objects. GMD's collection database has thrown open the doors to the possibilities of innovation and inspiration.

Will you donate to expand this important student resource? Please help us fill the funding gap and continue this important work with a donation.

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Lin Nelson-Mayson
Director
Goldstein Museum of Design

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Visit goldstein.design.umn.edu for more information about the Goldstein Museum of Design and to search the digital collection.



Posted by Goldstein Museum of Design at 11:49 AM | | Comments (0)

April 7, 2014

History and Future of Product Design: Student Research on Gustavsberg Vase



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by Jess LaRocca

I'm Jess LaRocca, a sophomore in the Retail Merchandising program at the University of Minnesota. I am extremely interested in the evolution of design and love exploring its history and trying to learn more about what people need from design. Right now, I am researching different products throughout history for PDes 3170: The History and Future of Product Design. I have been searching through the Goldstein Museum's online archives, and am always intrigued by finding something new every time I log on. I am interested in Scandinavian design, especially that during the mid-century modern era, so the Danish Modern exhibit at the Goldstein is a source of inspiration for me!


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This vase, produced by Swedish pottery company Gustavsberg in 1901, is an icon of Swedish Art Nouveau. The Art Nouveau Movement began in 19th century France and lasted through the early 20th century; it is best characterized by "whiplash" curves, stylized images inspired by nature, and often garish elements of style and form. However, at the root of this movement was a obsessive attention to detail in art and decorative pieces.

During the period of Art Nouveau, Sweden and Scandinavian countries began to develop their lasting design identities. In his book The History of Modern Design, David Raizman states that Scandinavian countries looked to traditional folklore and nostalgia, while also embracing modern expansions in design, which led to the development of "an appreciation for the decorative arts, deriving from a connection to nature, the dignity of handicraft, and the creation of modern national style."

The curvilinear properties of this design are a prime example of Art Nouveau pottery, but the overall simplicity of the form and its functionality reflect the Swedish dedication to handicraft and quality. The petal details also reflect both Art Nouveau principles and the Swedish tradition of drawing inspiration from nature through the use of stylized natural elements. Another important Art Nouveau element of this vase are the bowed lines from the petals to the mouth of the vase; these details create a sense of movement and focus, which were essential principles of Art Nouveau. The overall repetition creates an elegant example of the style in a way that also reflects the Swedish value of the beauty in usefulness.

Image:
Gustavsberg vase, 1901, 1982.007.001, gift of Marion John Nelson.



Posted by Goldstein Museum of Design at 1:15 PM | | Comments (1)

March 31, 2014

Zandra Rhodes, Cinderella, and the Goldstein



Fiber into Fantasy14.jpgZandra Rhodes' dresses on display in the GMD exhibition Fiber Into Fantasy (1999), curated by Marilyn DeLong.


by Natasha Thoreson

In 1991, Zandra Rhodes was commissioned to create the Chicago Marshall Field's flagship store holiday extravaganza display. The year's theme was Cinderella, so the London-based designer crafted 12 larger-than-life sparkling ball gowns that were then mounted on custom-made gold mannequins to tell the famous rags-to-riches story. After the holidays, the dresses eventually made their way - via Marshall Field's, Dayton's, and Target - to the Goldstein Museum of Design.


Fiber into Fastasy7.jpgRhodes' dresses on display in the GMD exhibition Fiber Into Fantasy (1999), curated by Marilyn DeLong.

Twenty-three years later, the unique dresses were introduced to me and four of my classmates in Dr. Marilyn DeLong's Material Culture and Design course. For the next year, Dr. DeLong, Mary Alice Casto, Seoha Min, Harini Ramaswamy, Meghan McKinney, and I worked together to research the dresses and the department store holiday display phenomenon. Our work will be published in an upcoming issue of Fashion, Style & Popular Culture. Here are some of the group's reflections on the process of working on this project at the Goldstein.


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FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Dr. DeLong: I first encountered the Zandra Rhodes dresses when they were donated to the GMD. They were fantasy dresses with historic references - not the usual donation. They offered insight into the theater involved in department store displays with their exuberant materials, frills, and glitter.

Mary Alice: Upon first seeing the dresses, they seemed quite costume-like though hard to determine where such a costume might be worn, they were so over the top.... the detail work for the painted designs on the fabric I always thought was spectacular.


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GROUP EFFORT
Dr. DeLong: The opportunity to research the dresses came when I taught the Material Culture and Design class. They offered an interesting comparison with the Zandra Rhodes artifacts already in the GMD historic costume collection and, as it turned out, the research completed by the students was worthy of publication.

Seoha: We had intense discussions regarding the objects and everything about the objects. It was really helpful because it is important to have different people's perspectives to analyze the hidden meaning of one object. Moreover, it was really an opportunity to learn how to collaborate with classmates.

Harini: This gave me the opportunity to analyze the different cultural influences, surprise elements and "the Zandra oomph" that manifested in her clothes. Zandra's dresses simply reflected her identity - a fun loving, expressive, one-of-a-kind designer with a vivid imagination. Her dresses also reflect that she is bold and adventuresome. She often breaks the rules and is unafraid to embrace the unconventional.


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CHALLENGES
Meghan: Finding photographs of the original Zandra Rhodes display proved to be next to impossible! It predates the widespread use of the Internet by enough years to make it difficult to find photographs online, but it didn't take place so long ago that people are beginning to scan photos as nostalgic items from their pasts.


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FINAL REFLECTIONS
Harini: Putting myself in the shoes of a child, I would be really enchanted and fascinated to witness the original display. As a child, I remember being drawn to fairy tales and this would definitely be something memorable.

Mary Alice: I think the original display must have been the stuff of fairytales and fantasy as they were intended, everything to make a little girl smile.



Posted by Goldstein Museum of Design at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)

March 18, 2014

Welcome to New Team Digi Photographer!



Thanks to ongoing financial support from people like you, we are able to continue to digitize the GMD's extensive collection of over 30,000 items of apparel, textiles, furniture, decorative arts, and more. The digitization team (fondly known in-house as "Team Digi") makes it possible for you to see the collection online, no matter where you are. This March we have the pleasure of welcoming a brand new photographer, Ellen Skoro, to the team.


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Until it closed last summer, Ellen was a photography instructor and administrator at the College of Visual Arts in Saint Paul. With a Masters degree from Minneapolis College of Art and Design and a Bachelors degree from Columbus College of Art and Design, Ellen has extensive experience as a freelance photographer. Her personal work, which can be seen at ellenskoro.com, focuses on portraiture. She was recently awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB) Artist Initiative grant to finish a six-year portrait project. Her other work has revolved around capturing still lifes of objects, experience that will translate directly to photographing the GMD collection.


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Currently, Team Digi is photographing a variety of textiles from the collection. In order to create the illusion that the pieces are lying flat or magically floating in a void, the team must create an elaborate setup consisting of black panels and fabric-covered bars propped against the wall at just the right angle. Following the same protocol that has been in place for the objects that have been photographed in the past, the team meticulously calibrates the camera and shoots with powerful strobes in soft boxes. Undaunted by the complexity of this challenge, Ellen instead is exhilarated. "This museum is so cool! I'm really excited to be here!" she tells us. We couldn't agree more.


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To date, 6,000 objects (or 20% of the collection) have been photographed and can be viewed online. You can now contribute directly to the continuation of this project. Visit http://goldstein.design.umn.edu/support/sponsor/ to help make our collection accessible anywhere in the world.


Visit http://goldstein.design.umn.edu/ to search the collection.



Posted by Goldstein Museum of Design at 12:29 PM | | Comments (1)