For Immediate Release
May 27, 2011
Daniela Oliver, 210.805.1754
Summer Exhibition Showcases Modernist Design from the Mad Men Era
George Nelson: Architect | Writer | Designer | Teacher
June 8 I September 11, 2011
Next time you settle down in your family room, remember to thank George Nelson (1908-1986). When Nelson coauthored the book
Tomorrow's House in 1945, he described both the now familiar family gathering spot, and the "storagewall," solving specific design
challenges for a more informal way of living. George Nelson: Architect, Writer, Designer, Teacher celebrates this iconic American
designer whose ideas yielded numerous classics in American furniture and interior design. Organized by the Vitra Design Museum in
Germany, this first comprehensive retrospective of Nelson's work incorporates over 120 three dimensional objects, including
benches, cabinets, chairs, clocks, desks, and lamps, as well as historical drawings, photographs, architectural models, and films.
One of the most influential figures in mid to late 20th-century American design, Yale-educated Nelson was a widely respected writer
and publicist, lecturer, exhibition curator, and a passionate photographer. After D. J. DePree, president of furniture manufacturer
Herman Miller, read Tomorrow's House in 1945, he hired George Nelson first to create a line of furniture and eventually as the
company's design director. Nelson's own New York firm, opened in 1947, produced furnishings and interior designs that became
modern classics, including the Coconut Chair (1956), the Marshmallow Sofa (1956), the Ball Clock (1947) and the Bubble Lamps
(1952 onwards). At Herman Miller, Nelson greatly influenced the product line and public image of the company for over two
decades, revolutionizing American design and collaborating with modernist luminaries such as Harry Bertoia,Ray and Charles Eames,
and Isamu Noguchi, to produce the most enduring pieces of the late 1940s and 1950s. In addition, Nelson set standards for all of
Herman Miller's activities, pioneering the areas of business communication and corporate image management. Characterized by
classic simplicity and functionality, these designs remain deservedly popular today.
See list of images. Files available upon request.
An exhibition of the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany. This exhibition has been generously sponsored by Herman Miller
Lead funding at the McNay is most generously given by Jane and Bill Lacy.
Additional funding is provided by Ford Powell & Carson Architects and Planners, the Paratus Group, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, the
Director's Circle, and the Host Committee.
Additional support is provided by Jean-Paul Viguier & Associates architects Paris.
Media sponsorship is provided by the San Antonio Express-News.
Built by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay in the 1920s, the Spanish Colonial Revival-style residence opened as Texas's first museum of modern
art in 1954. Today more than 100,000 visitors a year enjoy works by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper,
Georgia O'Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. In June 2008, the museum opened the 45,000-square-foot Jane and Arthur
Stieren Center for Exhibitions designed by internationally renowned French architect Jean-Paul Viguier. Nearly doubling the McNay's exhibition space,
the Stieren Center includes three separate outdoor sculpture galleries.
Tuesday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm;
Thursday, 10 am-9 pm;
Saturday, 10 am-5 pm;
Sunday, noon-5 pm.
The McNay is closed on Mondays, New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
This exhibtion is included in the general admission ticket price.
McNay members, free; Children 12 and under, free; Adults, $8; Students 12 and under, $5;
Seniors (65+), $5; Active Military, $5.
An extra admission charge of $5 applies during special exhibitions. There is no charge for general admission on Thursday nights and on the first
Sunday of the month. At these times, the extra admission charge applies only for entrance to the special exhibition.