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November 20, 2001 – September 15, 2002
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
2 East 91st Street
New York, NY
Location: 2nd Floor
This first major retrospective of one of the country's greatest industrial designers explores the products and ideas developed and marketed by Russel Wright, inventor of a gracious, informal and contemporary approach to the middle-class, mid-century American home. Wright's inexpensive and mass-produced dinnerware, appliances, textiles and furniture made modern design accessible to millions of people and married new industrial methods with time-honored traditions of craftsmanship. Visually and technically innovative, his designs combined bold, abstract shapes with unusual colors, resulting in household objects that were often molded to the user's hand and warm to the touch. Working with his wife, Mary, an expert promoter, Wright taught Americans how to live in ways that were practical, elegant and free from drudgery, helping to shape a new aesthetic and championing the democratic ideal of high-quality modern design for all.