Today I went to the new de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park to see the exhibition International Arts and Crafts: William Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright running from March 18th to June 18th 2006. While I purchased the general admission ticket plus the special exhibit ticket, I was only able to see the exhibit as I was with friends. But I still think it was worth paying double to get in to see it.
There were four general groupings, by geography – Britain, where, inspired by John Ruskin‘s writing, William Morris set the ball rolling for what would become the ‘Arts and Crafts’ movement, Europe – Germany, Hungary and Russia were highlighted, the United States and Japan. My favourite part was the beginning and I spent a disproportionate amount of time in the first room. Photography was not allowed but here are some links to the exhibition website and a snippet,
The Arts and Crafts movement was arguably one of the most far reaching
and influential design movements of modern times. It laid the
foundations for international approaches to design and lifestyle in the
20th century through new attitudes toward work, design and home.
From the pioneering example of William Morris and the writing of John
Ruskin, to a new generation of architects, artists, and designers, the
movement championed a unity of arts and was broadly defined by the
common aims of social and industrial reform, the revival of traditional
techniques, and the ideal of art in everyday life.
One plaque that stood out for me. It was a description of a carpet made for an exhibition in the late eighteen hundreds, and it said that many of the manufactories of that era chose not to participate in these exhibitions because of the requirement that the name of the designer be mentioned, not just the company. This, they objected to and thus refrained from participating. It leads one to think about contemporary design awards, where sometimes the designers and the design teams are mentioned in detail and sometimes it just says "XYZ design team". Which is better in the long term? Or does it depend on the particular company or brand? Something to think about.