The Saint Louis Art Museum has outdone itself with a major gift to the St. Louis Gateway Arch for its 50th birthday.
The gift is the museum’s new exhibit, St. Louis Modern, which is fitting, being that the Arch is of itself, St. Louis’ modernist signature.
“Planned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Eero Saarinen’s magnificent Gateway Arch, St. Louis Modern highlights St. Louis artists, architects and designers whose work helped shape the midcentury-modern aesthetic in America and raised our city’s profile as a center of design locally, national and internationally,” said Brent R. Benjamin, director of the Saint Louis Art Museum.
Organized chronologically and thematically, the exhibit traces the emergence of modern design and its embrace in St. Louis during a 30-year period bookended by the 1935 beginning stages of the Arch to its 1965 completion.
St. Louis Modern features a wide variety of modern design objects and artworks that were design or made by St. Louis architects, artists and designers; or purchased and used locally.
Some galleries within the exhibit highlight significant architectural and design commissions, allowing the visitor to take a look outside and inside buildings and homes that were gems in the midcentury St. Louis, when the Arch was just a newborn.
Other galleries highlight significant public sculpture, murals and stained glass; and feature both rare and renowned examples of mass-produced design, even including a 1954 Corvette visitors see as soon as they enter the new exhibit.
David Conradsen, the museum’s associate curator of decorative arts and design, along with research assistant Genevieve Cortinovis, have been working on the project for four years. “It’s a show that’s been waiting to happen,” Conradsen said.
St. Louis Modern will be on view now until Jan. 31, 2016.