Sunday, 22 April 2012

Sun April 22nd: "British Design 1948 - 2012" at the V&A Museum

In light of the Olympic games coming to London this summer, the major museums have been plotting to pull out all the stops to exhibit the country's greatest works for an influx of international guests flooding into the capital.  The V&A have taken the theme literally curating a show of "British Design 1948-2012" starting with the time we last hosted the games until the present moment of gearing up for another chance to entertain the spectacle.  It's a neat crossover of other shows around town right now with the 1950's Calyx print by Lucienne Day at The FTM display thru to Damien Hirst's Pharmacy Restaurant from the late 1990's which is also part of his show at The Tate.
As I walked round the chronological journey of design I had feelings of both wanting everything displayed whilst also recognising elements that I have actually experienced in my life.  In my own home I have a collection of retro tin toy robots, a Ridgway "Homemaker" saucer and Peter Saville's "Blue Monday" record for New Order.  I wish I had this David David chair that sits in the concluding section of the show - a highlight for me to see something by someone I know used in a major show and included in the poster artwork!  My other highlights were the Kansai Yamamoto knitted jumpsuit for David Bowie, original SEX (McLaren / Westwood) garments alongside Terry De Havilland, Mary Quant, Biba, Ossie Clark and Zandra Rhodes pieces.  It was especially nice to see that the SEX looks had been acquisitioned by the Art Fund which is a charity I subscribe too so felt very pleased to see that the initiative invests in fashion in addition to fine art - they are equally precious in my eyes! 
I loved the show opening with a 50's linear plankton print from The Festival Of Britain  to a graphic Conran catalogue of the 60's, to Richard Hamilton's silk screen print of Mick Jagger in the 70's, Derek Jarman's music videos from the 80's, a recreation of The Hacienda nightclub for the 90's and catwalk looks by Chalayan and McQueen for the 00's.  Every element of design is covered from interiors to architecture, photography to graphics, computer games to cleaning equipment, product to transport and ending on new buildings and idents for The Olympics Games 2012.  
As always with the V&A its a show well put together and explained in its layout and captions....... a must see....... check out the free Friday Late event next week with workshops from Kathryn Ferguson, David David & No Days Off and William Richard Green dj'ing the auditorium.

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