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  • Eero Saarinen: Shaping The Future

    Posted on February 18th, 2009 Toby Weiss 3 comments
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    The Kemper Art Museum is my new favorite place for wallowing in mid-century splendor. Their new exhibit on Eero Saarinen is even better than Birth of the Cool, and it is an embarrassment of riches to be able to say that.

    As always, taking pictures (or leaning) in the Kemper is strictly forbidden and studiously enforced, so I can only share with you these crappy cell phone shots.  Shown above are architectural models of the TWA Terminal and Dulles International airports! Below, a color rendering Eero did of one of the TWA lounges!! And this is what is in just one corner of one room!!!

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    The exhibit is very thorough without being ponderous, and displayed so that one can skim lightly and take away useful tidbits (Eero could write with both hands at the same time and write backwards) or really dig in and start to feel what it was like to work with him as he created and refined an idea.

    Everything the man touched conjured a new design reality, and this energy reverberated well past him to affect and elevate those who brought his creations to life.   Look at the photos of the TWA Terminal or the Ingalls Hockey Rink during construction and be blown away by the intricate wood forms the men built to mold the concrete.  Marvel at new fabrication tricks invented to create structural panels for the IBM Research Center building.

    There are original sketches of his iconic tulip chairs within one room dedicated solely to his furniture designs.  There’s an 18-minute documentary about Eero’s life and work created just for the exhibit.  It is easy to get lost for hours in this exhibit, but luckily it is in residence until April 27, so there’s plenty of opportunities to do it piecemeal, or just keep gorging on this architectural buffet.  Kemper is open most all times you need them to be open, so there’s no excuse to miss it.

    Need more convincing?

    Here’s a quick blast of photos from the exhibit.

    Here’s a short video about the exhibit.

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    3 Responses to “Eero Saarinen: Shaping The Future”

    1. I’m so glad this came to town! I saw this at the Building Museum in DC last year and thought it an obvious natural for St. Louis. Hopefully it is well attended and Kemper will keep getting these type exhibits. Looking forward to taking it all in again.

    2. Thanks for visiting — and writing about it! I’m glad you enjoyed the exhibition.

      You can see more images from the Kemper opening here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kemperartmuseum/sets/72157613369553789/.

    3. Kimberly,

      Thanks for the photos! I can tell from the pictures that it’s a MUCH more impressive display at Kemper vs. the National Building Museum. The Building Museum is a fantastic and historic place, but the galleries aren’t the greatest.