I’m about as tired of seeing things described as “iconic” as I am of hearing about Lady Gaga, but the i-word is the only way to describe the objects on view at the Smart Museum of Art
’s exhibition Mid-Century: “Good Design” in Europe and America, 1850-1950 (July 8 – September 5). The pieces, all from the museum’s permanent collection, are a bit motley, and the time frame (a lot can happen in 100 years) and geography (Europe and
America?) a bit broad, but so what? It’s fun to see original classic furniture by the Eameses, Stickley, Breuer, Wegner, and other big names displayed as something to admire and try to understand instead of, you know, buy. The Frank Lloyd Wright dining table and chairs from the Robie House, above, get me every time—what a great idea, to turn the table itself into a cozy little dining room! But I like a lot of the smaller items as much as the big ones—excellent ceramics, some silver, a bit of glass—all totally worth a look-see.