Woot! My pots are being immortalized in a museum! Yup, I’m heading to Pittsburgh late next week for the big opening of the Carnegie Museum of Art’s new exhibit, Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk, where my Muller-Munk-designed, New Old Stock Griswold Symbol cookware will be on display. Peter Muller-Munk was one of the most important industrial designers of the 20th century, “a crucial postwar fulcrum….” Let’s take a look — a sneak peek — at the news release and photos with some of the highlights of his career. Muller-Munk’s career started in the 1920s — dig the absolutely iconic skyscraper Waring Blender, above — so Streamline design enthusiasts will enjoy this story, too.
From the Carnegie Museum of Art’s news release:
The Untold Story of a Great American Designer
Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk
Opening November 21, 2015 • Carnegie Museum of Art
Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) announces Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk, opening November 21, 2015, in the museum’s Heinz Galleries.
Peter Muller-Munk was a brilliant silversmith, a pioneering industrial designer and educator, and a visionary spokesperson for his profession. Silver to Steel is the first retrospective of his four-decade career.
With more than 120 works of hand-wrought silver and popular mid-century products, supported by drawings and multimedia interviews, and playfully incorporating period advertising, the exhibition presents the untold story of a man who rose from anonymity as a young silversmith at Tiffany & Co. to become a crucial postwar fulcrum, promoting the practice of industrial design across the globe via a top American design consultancy: Pittsburgh’s Peter Muller-Munk Associates (PMMA).
The exhibition opens with Muller-Munk’s celebrated Modernist silver of the 1920s and 1930s. His best-known designs—the streamlined Normandie pitcher (1935) and the skyscraper-inspired Waring Blendor (1937)—reveal his transition from silversmith to industrial designer and herald an eye-opening presentation of his mass-produced objects. These highly functional and visually striking designs include Bell & Howell cameras, Westinghouse radios and appliances, Griswold cookware, Val Saint Lambert tableware, Porter-Cable power tools, Texaco gas stations and corporate identities, and prototypes in new materials for US Steel. For all its clients the PMMA firm addressed the challenges of a surging postwar consumer culture with vigor and intelligence, producing designs that pleased consumers and became highly successful in the marketplace.
Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk establishes Muller-Munk, and PMMA, squarely in the canon of mid-century design, and introduces a new audience to a founding father of the field. It reveals the creative side of Pittsburgh, a complement to the city’s industrial might in its manufacturing heyday. Through striking presentations of once familiar objects, the exhibition emphasizes the pervasive influence of good design on everyday life.
Silver to Steel is organized by Rachel Delphia, The Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at Carnegie Museum of Art and Jewel Stern, guest curator and independent scholar. The exhibition runs November 21, 2015–March 14, 2016. The exhibition catalogue, Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk, co-authored by Delphia and Stern, will be published in November by DelMonico Books/Prestel.
- Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk at the Carnegie Museum of Art
- My NOS Griswold Symbol Pots that will be in the show … and here are more photos of my pots before FedEx whisked them away
- Muller-Munk’s 1960 Westinghouse refrigerator — super rare, I don’t think they found one for the exhibit