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‘New Intersections’ brings ‘A Whole New Mind to Design’

Brooks Stevens Gallery
July 25, 2008 – February 21, 2009
Opening Reception: 5 -9 p.m., Gallery Night, July 25
Reception and Gallery Talk, Thursday, October 23, 6:30 p.m.

New Intersections: Form and Meaning in Design expands perceptions of product design through an innovative curatorial approach inspired by Daniel Pink’s bestseller "A Whole New Mind.” The exhibition opens in the Brooks Stevens Gallery with a reception on Friday, July 25, 5 – 9 p.m. as part of Gallery Night. It continues through February 21, 2009.

Director of Galleries Mark Lawson said, "We are engaging the public’s greatly increased knowledge of design by venturing into the more complex realm of how various modes of perception can be applied to the design process. While this may seem a bit challenging, it is meant to be provocative and fun. Life is too short to take everything so seriously." The exhibition views product designs through three intersecting perceptual lenses that illuminate design in new ways. Informed by Pink’s "Six Senses," each lens embraces six groups of three words that further expand the viewer’s understanding of underappreciated aspects of the design process and unexpected connections between strategies of perception. Among the exhibited items:

  • Picasso Internet Radio – the original prototype, a speculative piece designed for Thomson Consumer Electronics (RCA) by Ronald Lytel and Paul Pierce. The radio was featured on the cover of I.D. Magazine in 1999.
  • Vico Duo Chair – Designed by Italian designer Vico Magistretti for the Fritz Hansen Collection at Knoll Studios. This elegant stacking chair combines the designer’s signature organic style and the technological knowhow of Hansen, particularly in molded wood forming.
  • Fiskars line of garden products – A highly cohesive product line based on ergonomic research and recognizable organic form and color sensibilities.
  • Mateo’s Crib – A wonderfully lighthearted piece designed by Alberto Matilla and Anthony Baxter for Curve I.D. and featured in Time magazine (December ’97) as one of the best designs of 1997.
  • Mirro JELL-O molds, circa 1950s – In the 1950s, both JELL-O and the innovative use of anodized aluminum became prominent, finding their intersection in these fanciful shapes from the Mirro house wares product line. Just add the marshmallows.
  • animalhouse line of kitchen products – Right off the shelf of a contemporary department store, this fun kitchen tool line cleverly adapts the shapes of well-known animals to household tasks. Included are a Piranha Pizza Cutter, a Shark Bottle Opener and an Octopus Dish Scrubber.
  • Sanyo Phonosphere – This amazing artifact from the 1970s is truly a disco adaptation of the classic 45rpm vinyl record player. When rotating, a small built-in light focuses its beam on a miniature "disco ball" positioned in the center of the turning record. The resulting reflections simulate the swirling lights of a disco dance floor.

MIAD’s Brooks Stevens Gallery is named after the Industrial Design pioneer who served as a MIAD trustee, helped to found its Industrial Design program, and was a faculty member until his death in 1995.

Said Lawson, "Since 1993, the gallery has been breaking ground in presenting what was the little understood field of Industrial Design. It has been part of a broad international effort to educate the public about design. Through the media, exhibitions and programming, this diverse effort has been widely successful."

The college’s renowned Industrial Design program is one of its largest B.F.A. majors, whose graduates continue to break new ground in the profession in Wisconsin and beyond. According to BusinessWeek magazine’s annual "Best Product Design" section, design is a "must-have competency for corporations" as consumers look to design as the "new differentiator" is a sea of new products (2006).