As someone with a Swedish last name (“Snyder” is my maiden and professional name) who has casually explored Scandanavia's offerings for a decade, I've found that most Americans, including myself, understand little about the Nordic culture and its contributions. Other than IKEA, of course.
Well, hold onto your umlaut, because the new exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum, “Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890-1980,” is the first exhibition to dive deep into the practical, egalitarian and beautifully minimalist objects we’ve enjoyed and been inspired by from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden during the 20th century.
I had the honor of attending an early presentation of this exhibit led by co-curator Monica Obniski who shared that the mission of the exhibit's message is threefold.
“Our hope is that by engaging with the wide range of objects and accompanying research featured, viewers will gain new perspectives and insights on topics that remain central today, including the rich contributions of immigrants to American culture, the need to parse through the myths and stereotypes often embedded in advertising, and the critical importance of environmentally sustainable and universally accessible products," says Obniski, who is the former Demmer Curator of 20th- and 21st-Century Design at the Milwaukee Art Museum and the current Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Ga.
Wall hangings, chairs, coffee pots, scissors, punch bowls, troll dolls, Lego, a full-sized antique Volvo, tubular bunk beds, jewlery, books and "Baby Bjorn" slings are only a few of the more than 180 items on display in this fun and fascinating exhibit.
"Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980" will be on view from March 24 through July 23, 2023. This is its final stop after an international tour.
Here are 11 more photos from this must-see exhibit that will delight and inspire guests of all ages.
Go here for more information.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.