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Postmodern Design

“Bag” Radio, designed 1981, by Daniel Weil

With bright colors, bold patterns, and a variety of witty references spanning history and pop culture, the pluralistic designs under the broad umbrella of “postmodernism” continue to inspire, delight, and compel audiences. In a shifting social and economic terrain following World War II, many designers and architects argued that the rule-bound approaches of modernism had rendered the design fields sterile and impersonal. In response, some designers sought beauty in the mundane and every day; others created ironic celebrations of commercial culture; others still remixed out-of-fashion historic forms. These works from the museum’s collection document the playful “anything goes” mentality of postmodern design in Europe, Japan, and the United States, especially during the so-called consumer decade of the 1980s.