"I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America"


Uploaded by HarryRansomCenter on 26.01.2012

Transcript:
Home to the archive of the American designer Norman Bel Geddes,
the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin is
organizing a major retrospective exhibition about him
which will open in September 2012.
Norman Bel Geddes was an innovative theater and industrial designer,
architect, and urban planner whose impact on the American lifestyle is still evident.
In the 1920s, Bel Geddes' radical re-thinking of department
store displays helped shape the expectations of an expanding consumer society.
His 1932 book, Horizons, popularized the principle of
streamlining in the design of everyday objects, ranging from radios to automobiles.
Speck: This guy had such a big mind.
He thought globally and other people were thinking of particular problems,
but I think it was just the way his head worked.
He could see the confluence of all these things together.
At the 1939 New York World's Fair,
Bel Geddes created the spectacular Futurama display,
a sixteen minute ride into a city of the future that was
the most popular attraction at the fair.
Bel Geddes was instrumental in creating the industrial design profession
and his client list included such corporations as Shell Oil, Macy's,
General Motors, General Electric, Coca-Cola, IBM,
and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
This Bel Geddes exhibition will be the first since 1979 to examine his entire career.
Titled I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America,
exhibition highlights include original drawings and set designs for
his staging of The Divine Comedy, models of streamlined cars and ocean liners,
plans for "Homes of Tomorrow," and vintage products such as
his patriotic red, white, and blue plastic radio.
A permanent record of the exhibition will be created with a lavishly
illustrated book publication about Norman Bel Geddes.
Speck: We need visionaries like Norman Bel Geddes.
We need people who will see the future in a different frame
than we're doing in a workaday problem solving way.
So I think one of the great things about this exhibition is to let us see this
fertile mind of someone who is completely interdisciplinary.
Who really cuts across our myopic silos of thinking and
can see a picture, a vision, of what could be a solution to these problems.