James A. Michener Art Museum

Paul Evans Crossing Boundaries & Crafting Modernism

Paul Evans, His Life and Times

year
paul evans
works of art
world events
pop culture
art & cult events
1927  
Paul Frankl Skyscraper Furniture

First Transatlantic Flight
   
1928  
Reuben Haley Tableware
     
1929  
Pablo Picasso Sculpture

Wall Street Crash
 
Museum of Modern Art Opens
1930  
Julio González Sculpture
   
Chrysler Building
1931
Paul Evans Born
       
1932    
Amelia Earhart Crosses Atlantic
   
1933  
Walter von Nessen Coffee Service

Prohibition Repealed
   
1936      
Gone with the Wind
 
1937    
Amelia Earhart Disappears

Snow White Released
 
1938      
The War of the Worlds Airs

Knoll Founded
1939    
Nazi Germany Invades Poland

The Wizard of OZ is Released

Bucks County Playhouse
1940        
America House
1941    
Japan Bombs Pearl Harbor

Citizen Kane Released
 
1942    
Japanese Internment
   
1943        
George Nakashima
1944    
GI Bill
 
School For American Craftsmen
1945    
World War II Ends

Animal Farm Published
 
1946        
Jens Risom and Scandinavian Design
1947  
Jackson Pollock Drip Painting

Major League Baseball Integrated

Howdy Doody Premieres
 
1948        
Molded Fiberglass Furniture
1949
George School
 
NATO Founded
   
1950
School For American Craftsmen

David Smith Welded Sculpture

North Korea Invades the South

Peanuts First Published

MoMA Good Design
1951  
John Prip Bird Pitcher
     
1952
Young Americans Exhibition
   
American Bandstand

Shop One
1953
Old Sturbridge Village
 
Korean Armistice
 
Designer Craftsman U.S.A.
1954
Evans-Manbeck Exhibition

Harry Bertoia Screens

Brown v. Board of Education
   
1955
Evans Joins Phillip Lloyd Powell
 
Rosa Parks

Rebel Without a Cause
 
1956
Museum of Contemporary Crafts
   
Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel"

Museum of Contemporary Crafts
1957
Furniture by Craftsmen Exhibition
 
Little Rock Nine

Jack Kerouac's On the Road
 
1958
First Verdigris Copper Loop Cabinet
 
First US Satellite
   
1959
Evans and Shari Lewis

Nelson Storage System

Vietnam: First American Casualties

Shari Lewis Puppeteer

Guggenheim Museum
1960
Purchases Home and Shop

Jan de Swart/Louise Nevelson
 
Birth Control Pill Approved

Twelve Angry Men
1961
America House Show
 
First American in Space
 
A Raisin in the Sun
1962
First Forged-Front Cabinets
 
John Glenn Orbits Earth

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring

Under the Yum Yum Tree
1963
Develops Argente Technique
 
March on Washington

The Feminine Mystique

Nobody Loves Me
1964
Teams with Directional Furniture
 
Civil Rights Act of 1964

Beatles on Ed Sullivan
 
1965
Opens Porkyard Shop
 
Vietnam War Protest
   
1966
Evans and Powell End Partnership

Wendell Castle Blanket Chest

NOW Formed
   
1967
Craftsmen '67 Exhibition
 
Vietnam War Escalates

Summer of Love
Philadelphia Council of Professional Craftsmen
1968
Directional Argente

Donald Judd Minimalist Work

Martin Luther King Assassination

Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
 
1969    
First Men on Moon

Woodstock

Objects: USA
1970
Opens Plumsteadville Shop

Andy Warhol Brillo Boxes

Kent State Shooting
   
1971
Cityscape I
 
Roe v. Wade
   
1972      
M*A*S*H Airs on TV
 
1973
Cityscape II

Frank Gehry Cardboard Furniture

Arab Oil Embargo
   
1974
Directional PE 400 Series
 
Nixon Impeachment
   
1975
Directional PE 500 Series
 
Saigon Falls
   
1976
Directional PE 600 Series
   
Rocky
Studio Alchimia
1977
Directional PE 700 Series
   
Saturday Night Fever

The Centre Pompidou
1978
Corrugates Line
       
1979
Evans Ends Directional Relationship

Dakota Jackson Standing Bar

Three Mile Island Accident
   
1980
Opens New York Showroom
   
CNN Founded
 
1981    
IBM Personal Computer

MTV Launched

Memphis Group
1982
Design Institute America
   
Thriller
 
1983
Zoom, Inc.
       
1984
DIA Produces Evans Furniture
 
Bhopal Toxic Gas Leak
   
1985
Revolving Rooms
       
1986    
Chernobyl Nuclear Accident
   
1987
Paul Evans Dies
       

1931

Paul Evans is born May 20, 1931 in Trenton, New Jersey, son of Paul Reginald (teacher at George School and chairman of the English department, 1928 – 43) and Trina A. Evans (painter).

1949

Evans graduates from George School, a Quaker preparatory school in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

Works created by Evans while he attended George School include a laminated walnut vessel.

Vessel, ca. 1949. Collection of Dorsey Reading. Photography by Jason Wierzbicki

1950

Evans is awarded an Aileen O. Webb Scholarship to study at Rochester Institute of Technology's School for American Craftsmen, where he studies with John Prip and Lawrence Copeland, both of whom had direct experience with Scandinavian techniques and aesthetics.

1952

An Evans's coffeepot wins first prize in the metals section of the Young Americans third annual competitive exhibition, held at America House in New York City and organized by the American Craftsmen's Educational Council (June 11–September 5, 1952).

Evans continues his art education at Cranbrook Academy of Art, funded by an Ellen S. Booth Scholarship, where he studies metalsmithing with Richard Thomas.

Coffeepot,1952. Collection of Dorsey Reading. Photography by Jason Wierzbicki

1953

Evans leaves Cranbrook to assume a position as a living craftsman in the metal shop at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, where he works until the end of the summer of 1955. At Sturbridge he experiments with sandblasting the surfaces of such pewter works as candlesticks.

An Evans's silver pitcher is included in the Designer Craftsmen U.S.A. exhibition (1953–55).

Candlesticks, ca. 1953. Collection of Dorsey Reading. Photography by Jason Wierzbicki

1954

Evans has a joint show with fellow craftsman Loren Manbeck at America House, arranged by the American Craftsmen's Educational Council.

1955

Evans moves to the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area where he begins collaborating with woodworker Phillip Lloyd Powell. The two also share a showroom in New Hope.

Evans and Powell develop and begin selling a line of walnut or mahogany accessories with pewter inlay.

Paul Evans and Phillip Lloyd Powell in front of New Hope showroom, ca. 1960 Courtesy of Dorsey Reading

1956

Evans's silver and pewter hollowware is included in Craftsmanship in a Changing World, the opening exhibition of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts (New York City).

1957

An Evans and Powell chest with sculpted metal front is included in the Furniture by Craftsmen exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York City.

1958

Evans produces his earliest Verdigris Copper Loop cabinet as well as tables with tiered loop steel bases.

Evans and Powell begin creating screens with gilded band iron loops in walnut frames (1958 or 1959).

The Evans shop acquires its first acetylene torch to cut and braze sheet metal or bars and to heat and bubble paint treated with acid.

Evans and workers fabricating a Verdigris Copper Loop cabinet Courtesy of Dorsey Reading

1959

Evans secures television show host and puppeteer Shari Lewis as a client.

Evans opens a workshop at the old Pontiac building on North Main Street in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Evans produces his earliest Copper, Bronze, and Pewter cabinet.

Paul Evans and Shari Lewis in New Hope, Pennsylvania, showroom, ca. 1964 Courtesy of Dorsey Reading

1960

Evans purchases a home on Aquetong Road in New Hope, Pennsylvania, and subsequently opens a shop on the property.

Robert Thomas and Dorsey Reading with sculpted steel screen in front of Aquetong shop Courtesy of Dorsey Reading

1961

Evans and Powell have a joint show at America House in New York City, where Evans exhibits his first sculpted steel screen.

Evans's work begins to be included regularly in America House catalogues.

Evans closes his Pontiac building workshop in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Earliest sculpted steel screen Courtesy of Dorsey Reading

1962

The Evans shop creates the first Forged-Front cabinet (also known as Sculpted-Front cabinet).

The Evans shop purchases its first metal inert gas welder, and all future welding is completed in-house.

Cabinet (Forged-Front), 1964. Conn Family Trust. Photography by Jason Wierzbicki

1963

Evans begins experimenting with aluminum and his new Argente technique, first in sculpture and then furniture.

The Evans-Powell showroom moves to Bridge and Canal streets in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Screen (Argente), 1968 (Sculptures in the Fields series) Courtesy of Dorsey Reading

1964

Evans begins a relationship with Directional Furniture. Among the first tables produced for Directional was an Angle cocktail table (PE 11).

Shop workers with Angle cocktail table. Photography courtesy of Jeff Baumann

1965

Evans opens a work shop at the Porkyard in Lambertville, New Jersey, where seventeen employees produce furniture for the Directional lines.

Evans produces his first Sculpted Bronze works.

Disc Bar (Sculpted Bronze), ca. 1970. Collection of Dorsey Reading. Photography by Jason Wierzbicki

1966

Evans and Powell end their showroom partnership. Life magazine includes Evans in the article "The Old Crafts Find New Hands" (July 29). Evans shows his work in America House's new Collector's Room. The Evans Aquetong shop accommodates ten workers.

Paul Evans in front of America House, ca. 1966. Courtesy of Dorsey Reading

1967

Evans shows work at the Craftsmen '67 exhibition at the Museum of the Philadelphia Civic Center.

1968

The Argente technique is incorporated into the Directional PE 100 series.

The Argente line includes works with flowing patterns of dark and light elements, etched decorative surface patterns, and textured surface patterns, which were produced by using an acetylene torch to physically melt the aluminum surface.

Cube Table (prototype Argente cube table), ca. 1966. James A. Michener Art Museum. Gift of the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation. Photography by Jason Wierzbicki

1970

Evans consolidates the Aquetong and Lambertville shops into a 12,600-square-foot facility in Plumsteadville, Pennsylvania.

Worker welding in Plumsteadville shop. Courtesy of Dorsey Reading. Photography by Warren Kruse.

1971

Evans introduces his Cityscape I series (Directional PE 200), a prolific line that features smooth reflective surfaces.

Cabinets (pair) (prototype for Cityscape I. wall-hung cabinets, PE 200), ca. 1970. Collection of Dorsey Reading. Photography by Jason Wierzbicki.

1973

Evans introduces his Cityscape II series (Faceted) (Directional PE 300), which includes faceted cabinets incorporating the geometry of cubism with surfaces broken into planes and angles.

Cabinet (Cityscape II, Faceted) (PE 370). 1973. Collection of Dorsey Reading. Photography by Jason Wierzbicki.

1974

Evans introduces his PE 400 series, consisting of walnut burl, olive ash burl, and English oak burl, which contrasts with the metal of earlier Cityscape work.

Examples of walnut burl furnishings that were part of the PE. 400 series from Directional’s Cityscape catalogue. Reproduced by permission from Directional, Inc.

1975

Evans introduces his PE 500 series called Waterfall: curvilinear forms of high-density urethane are covered with wood or metal and lacquered.

Evans introduces the French 75 line: walnut burl, olive ash burl, and lacquer.

A cabinet from Evans's PE 500 series, ca.1975. Photograph courtesy of Wright.

1976

Evans introduces his PE 600 series: lacquered wood and metal stripes.

The Plumsteadville factory expands to a 22,600-square-foot facility and operates at its peak with eighty-eight people working in two shifts.

Reproduced by permission from Directional, Inc.

1977

Evans introduces Collection 77 (PE 700 series), which is made with poured concrete and stainless steel, usually covered with leather or suede and lacquered tops.

A cabinet from Evans's PE 700 series from a Directional brochure highlighting the series. Reproduced by permission from Directional, Inc.

1978

Evans introduces his Corrugates line (cardboard furniture).

Evans also introduces the Directional PE 800 series, which includes brushed nickel and satin chrome.

Corrugates Dining Chairs (pair), ca. 1978. James A. Michener Art Museum. Museum purchase. funded by the Mandel Society for Art Acquisition, Beveridge Moore and Henry Morof Trust, and George C. Benson in honor of his friend John Horton. Photography courtesy Rago Arts and Auction Center, Lambertville, NJ

1979

Evans ends his relationship with Directional Furniture.

Evans obtains a commission through Directional to provide furnishings for a Saudi royal family palace outside Jeddah. The bedroom for Princess Moudi (daughter of King Khalid) is furnished with brass and chrome cabinetry, which surrounds a bed that rotates. The cabinets are outfitted with electronic pop-ups that lift to reveal storage for objects like a television.

1980

The Evans showroom on Bridge and Canal streets in New Hope closes.

Evans opens a retail showroom in New York City, where he offers Alucobond furniture and electronic furnishings.

Paul Evans's New York showroom, 1980. Photography by Peter Paige. Photograph courtesy of Family of Paul Evans

1982

With son Keith, Evans starts designing for Design Institute America (DIA) and produces early samples in the Plumsteadville factory.

1983

Evans closes his retail showroom in New York City.

With son Keith, Evans founds Zoom, Inc., located in Frenchtown, New Jersey, to design and build prototypes of electronic and kinetic furniture.

The Plumsteadville facility closes.

Kinetic Coffee Table, ca. 1983. Photograph courtesy of Family of Paul Evans.

1984

Design Institute America begins to produce furniture designed by Paul Evans with electronic components engineered by his son Keith.

High Low Table, 1984. Private collection. Photography by Thomas Little.

1985

Paul and Keith Evans design rooms for Design Institute America that revolve by hydraulic systems.

Interior of revolving bedroom, ca. 1985. Photograph courtesy of Family of Paul Evans

1987

On March 7, Paul Evans dies from his third heart attack in his first day of retirement.

1927

Paul Frankl introduces his Skyscraper furniture, which is a distinctive example of the art deco style of the 1920s that may have inspired Evans's Cityscape furniture of the 1970s.

Paul T. Frankl (1886–1958), Skyscraper, ca. 1927, maple, Bakelite, 79 7/8 × 34 3/8 × 18 7/8 inches (202.9 × 87.3 × 47.9 cm). Purchase, Theodore R. Gamble Jr. Gift, in honor of his mother, Mrs. Theodore Robert Gamble, 1982 (1982.30ab). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, U.S.A. Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art Image source Art Resource, NY

1928

Reuben Haley introduces his Ruba Rombic glass tableware, a distinctive example of the art deco style of the 1920s that may have inspired Evans's Cityscape furniture of the 1970s.

Reuben Haley (1872–1933), "Ruba Rombic" Bowl and "Ruba Rombic" Vase, ca. 1928, glass, left: 1998.537.22 (bowl), right: 1986.413.2 (vase). Purchase, Theodore R. Gamble Jr. Gift, in honor of his mother, Mrs. Theodore Robert Gamble, 1986 (1986.413.2); John C. Waddell Collection, Gift of John C. Waddell, 1998 (1998.537.22). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, U.S.A. Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image SourceL Art Resource, NY

1929

Throughout the late 1920s and '30s, Pablo Picasso uses welded metal to create sculpture, blending found objects and forms of his own construction.

Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), Tête de femme (Head of a Woman), 1929– 30, painted iron, sheet metal, springs, and colanders, 39 2/5 × 14 3/5 × 23 1/5 inches (100 × 37 × 59 cm). MP270. Photo: Beatrice Hatala. Musée Picasso, Paris. France. © RMN – Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY © 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

1930

During the late 1920s and '30s, Julio González begins producing sculpture by using welded metal as he blends found objects and forms of his own construction.

Julio González (1876–1942), Mask: Reclining Head, ca. 1930, iron, 6 1/4 × 7 1/4 × 4 1/2 inches (15.9 × 18.4 × 11.4 cm). Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

1933

Walter von Nessen creates a Diplomat coffee service, a distinctive example of the art deco style of the 1920s and '30s that may have inspired Evans's Cityscape furniture of the 1970s.

Walter von Nessen (1889 – 1943), Diplomat, 1933, chrome-plated copper, composition, a: Coffeepot, 8 1/2 × 4 1/4 × 6 5/8 inches (21.6 × 10.8 × 16.8 cm); b: Sugar, 2 7/8 × 3 1/4 × 2 1/2 inches (7.3 × 7.9 × 6.4 cm); c: Creamer with d: Lid, 4 1/2 × 4 1/4 × 5 1/2 inches (11.4 × 10.8 × 14 cm) e: Tray, H. 1 1/8, Diam. 10 1/2 inches (H. 2.9, Diam. 26.7 cm). Manufacturer: Chase Brass & Copper Company, Inc. (Waterbury, Connecticut). John C. Waddell Collection, Gift of John C. Waddell, 2001 (2001.722.1a–e).The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, U. S. A. Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image Source: Art Resource, NY

1947

Jackson Pollock begins creating "drip" paintings, which exemplify an aesthetic of spontaneity. One: Number 31, 1950, is an early "drip" painting.

Jackson Pollock (1912–1956), One: Number 31, 1950, 1950, oil and enamel paint on canvas, 8 feet 10 inches × 17 feet 5 5/8 inches (269.5 × 530.8 cm). Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection Fund (by exchange). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, U.S.A. © 2014 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY

1950

During the 1950s, David Smith creates a number of welded sculptures using found parts.

David Smith (1906–1965), The Letter, 1950, welded steel. 37 1/2 × 25 × 12 inches (95.3 × 63.5 × 30.5 cm). Museum purchase. 51.37. Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, NY, U.S.A . Art © Estate of David Smith/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photo: Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute/Art Resource, NY

1951

John Prip's Bird Pitcher embodies an organic liveliness that would later be found in Evans's early wall and fountain sculptures and in the sculpted high-relief decorative detail of his cabinets and screens of the 1960s and early 1970s.

John Prip was one of Evans's instructors at the School for American Craftsmen.

John Prip (1922–2009), Bird Pitcher, 1951, silver with ebony, 6 × 5 5/16 × 3 13/16 inches (15.2 × 13.5 × 9.7 cm). Museum Acquisition Fund. Photography by Erik Gould, courtesy of the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

1954

Harry Bertoia creates a number of sculptural screens during the 1950s (Manufacturers Trust Building in New York, 1954, and Yale University, 1958) with horizontal rows of rectangles projecting at different levels from anchoring poles, creating a continuous undulating field.

Harry Bertoia (1915–1978), Sculpture Screen, 1958, Metal, welded with golden coloration, three sections: 107 × 46 × 13 3/4 inches (271.8 × 116.8 × 34.9 cm), 107 × 44 3/4 × 11 3/4 inches (271.8 × 113.7 × 29.8 cm), 107 × 45 × 11 3/4 inches (271.8 × 114.3 × 29.8 cm). Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of the International Business Machines Corporation © 2014 Estate of Harry Bertoia/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

1959

George Nelson and Associates design the Comprehensive Storage System (CSS) in 1959 and promote it as an innovation in flexible storage.
Jan de Swart

Louise Nevelson

1960

Jan de Swart creates his Architectural Landscape for the Kaiser Center in Oakland, California, and Louise Nevelson creates her monochromatic Royal Tide I assemblage. Both works may have inspired Evans's sculpted steel screens, which debuted at America House in 1961.

Jan de Swart (1908–1987), Architectural Landscape, 1960, panel in cast aluminum, 2 × 5 feet (60.96 × 152.4 cm). Image reproduced from Oppi Untracht, Metal Techniques for Craftsmen: A Basic Manual on the Methods of Forming and Decorating Metals, Robert Hale Ltd.

Louise Nevelson (1899–1988), Royal Tide I, 1960, painted wood, 86 × 40 × 8 inches (218.4 × 101.6 × 20.3 cm). Collection of Peter and Beverly Lipman. © 2014 Estate of Louise Nevelson/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photograph by Sheldan Collins/Spontaneous Accomplishments, LLC

1966

Wendell Castle's stack-laminated Blanket Chest is featured in the American Craft Museum's Fantasy Furniture exhibition of 1966.

Wendell Castle (b. 1932), Blanket Chest, 1963, cherry, 36 1/2 × 32 × 21 inches (92.7 × 81.3 × 53.3 cm). Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester: The Mr. and Mrs. James Sibley Watson Purchase Award, Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition.

1968

Donald Judd creates minimalist cubic and rectangular works with smooth surfaces that would be echoed in Evans's work of the 1970s.

Donald Judd (1928–1994), Untitled, 1968, brass, 22 × 48 1/4 × 36 inches (55.9 × 122.6 × 91.4 cm). Gift of Philip Johnson. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, U.S.A. Art © Judd Foundation Foundation. Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY

1970

Andy Warhol creates Brillo Boxes. Warhol and other artists associated with the Pop Art Movement create works with high visual impact as early as the 1960s

Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987), Brillo Boxes, 1970 (enlarged refabrication of 1964 project), commercial silkscreen inks on industrially fabricated plywood box supports, each: 20 × 20 × 17 inches (50.8 × 50.8 × 43.2 cm). Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio; Gift of John Coplans in Memory of Ruth C. Roush, 1980. © 2014 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York

1973

During the late 1960s and early '70s, Frank Gehry creates his Easy Edges furniture series. Evans would produce his own line of corrugated furniture later in the 1970s.

Frank Gehry (b. 1929), Easy Edges Rocker, 1973, cardboard, Masonite, 25 × 22 × 43 inches (63.5 × 55.9 × 109.2 cm). Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh: James L. Winokur Fund, 2003.38

1979

Dakota Jackson creates Standing Bar. Evans would create his own case furniture with reflective surfaces and mechanical elements during the early 1980s.

Dakota Jackson (b. 1948), Standing Bar, 1979

1927

Charles Lindbergh flies the first solo transatlantic flight from New York to Paris.

1929

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 precipitates the Great Depression.

1932

Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to successfully fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Lindbergh baby kidnapping is heavily covered by United States media.

1933

The 1920 prohibition of the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States was repealed in 1933.

1937

Amelia Earhart disappears over the Pacific during her attempt to fly around the world.

1939

On September 1, 1939, German troops invade Poland, marking the beginning of World War II in Europe.

1941

Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. The United States declares war on Japan and Germany.

1942

President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorizes the internment of more than 100,000 Japanese Americans following the Pearl Harbor bombing.

1944

The GI Bill provides benefits, including tuition and living expenses to expenses, returning World War II veterans.

1945

Germany surrenders, ending World War II in Europe.

The United States drops two atomic bombs on Japan, killing an estimated 150,000 to 246,000 people.

1947

Jackie Robinson breaks the color barrier in Major League Baseball when he joins the Brooklyn Dodgers.

1949

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is founded. Occupied Germany is partitioned into East and West Germany. The USSR tests its first atomic bomb.

1950

North Korea invades South Korea, and the United States becomes involved in the Korean War.

1953

The Korean Armistice Agreement is signed.

James Watson and Francis Crick publish their paper on the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA.

1954

In Brown v. Board of Education, the US Supreme Court rules that laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students are unconstitutional.

1955

In Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white passenger and becomes internationally recognized for her resistance to racial segregation.

The first American advisory personnel are deployed to South Vietnam.

1957

Federalized Arkansas National Guard are sent to escort the Little Rock Nine to their classrooms, desegregating the Little Rock school system.

The Soviet Union launches Sputnik, starting the space race.

1958

The United States' first satellite, Explorer I, is successfully launched into orbit.

1959

The first two official American casualties of the Vietnam War.

1961

Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space.

The United States breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba and supports the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion.

The first large force of US military personnel is sent to South Vietnam to defend against the communist North.

1962

John Glenn orbits the Earth.

The Cuban missile crisis erupts between the United States and the Soviet Union, resulting in the Cold War becoming close to evolving into a nuclear conflict.

1963

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech to 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.

1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is signed into law, outlawing major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, and women.

The Tonkin Gulf Resolution authorizes military action in Southeast Asia.

1965

The first major antiwar demonstration against the Vietnam War brings 25,000 protesters to Washington, DC. By the end of the year, US troop presence in Vietnam reaches 150,000.

The Watts Riots in Los Angeles result in the deaths of 34 people, more than 1,000 injuries, and over 3,400 arrests.

Malcolm X is assassinated during an address at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan.

1966

The feminist group the National Organization for Women (NOW) is formed with Betty Friedan as president.

1967

US troop deployment in Vietnam reaches 500,000.

400,000 demonstrators march against the Vietnam War in New York City.

1968

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated.

In Vietnam, the Vietcong begin the Tet Offensive (a campaign of surprise attacks by the Vietcong).

President Johnson declares that the United States will stop dropping bombs on North Vietnam.

Apollo 8 is the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon.

1969

Apollo 11 astronauts become the first men to land on the moon.

The Stonewall riots in New York City mark the beginning of the modern gay liberation movement in the United States.

1970

On May 4 National Guard troops respond to antiwar protesters at Kent State University, killing four students and wounding nine others.

The first Earth Day is observed.

1971

Supreme Court rules abortion a fundamental right in the case Roe v. Wade.

1973

Beginning of the Arab oil embargo: gasoline prices spike and long lines form at gas stations.

1974

The House Judiciary Committee votes to impeach Richard M. Nixon, and the president resigns.

The United States withdraws the last troops from South Vietnam.

1975

Saigon falls to the Vietcong, resulting in a mass evacuation of Americans as well as a large contingent of Vietnamese.

1979

Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania, experiences an accident, accompanied by a significant release of radiation.

1981

The IBM 5150 personal computer is introduced and becomes the progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform.

1984

An accident at a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, results in toxic gas leaks that kill 2,000 and injure 150,000.

1986

The Chernobyl nuclear accident results in widespread dispersion of radiation across much of Europe and western Soviet Union and necessitates the abandonment of the Chernobyl region.

1936

Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind is published.

1937

Disney releases Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

1938

The radio adaptation of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds airs on the Columbia Broadcasting System, causing widespread panic in the United States.

1939

The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland, is released in movie theaters.

1941

Citizen Kane, a film loosely based on the life of American newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, is released in theaters.

1945

George Orwell's Animal Farm, an allegorical critique of Stalin, is published in the United Kingdom in 1945 and released in the United States the following year.

1947

The Howdy Doody Show, a children's television program, premieres on the NBC network.

1950

Peanuts, by Charles Schulz, is first published in newspapers.

Cinderella, Walt Disney's twelfth animated film, is released.

1952

Bandstand premieres on a Philadelphia TV station.

1955

The American drama film Rebel Without a Cause is released with James Dean starring as a rebellious teenager.

1956

Elvis Presley releases his first number one hit, "Heartbreak Hotel."

Presley uses television and film appearances to establish a position as one of the first American popular culture celebrities.

1957

Jack Kerouac publishes On the Road, a pioneering work of the Beat Generation.

1959

Shari Lewis gains popularity as ventriloquist, puppeteer, and television show host with her puppets Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse.

1960

The birth control pill is approved by the FDA and becomes widely available.

1962

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring is published. Carson's book precipitates concern about the indiscriminate use of pesticides and helps launch the contemporary environmental movement.

1963

Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique ignites the mid-twentieth-century American feminist movement.

1964

The Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show is widely viewed and becomes a seminal event in television history.

1967

The Summer of Love, a social phenomenon, draws more than 100,000 people to the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. The gathering marks a fundamental shift in American culture and politics.

1968

Tom Wolfe's book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is released and introduces to the general public the psychedelic world of a dropout generation.

1969

The Woodstock concert is held in Bethel, New York.

1972

M*A*S*H, a popular comedy revolving around the Korean War, first airs on television.

The Godfather is released in theaters.

1976

Rocky is the highest-grossing film of the year and wins the Academy Award for Best Picture.

1977

Saturday Night Fever, starring John Travolta, is released and helps popularize disco music around the world.

1980

CNN, the first 24-hour cable news channel, is founded.

1981

MTV, the first 24-hour cable network dedicated to airing music videos, is launched.

1982

Michael Jackson releases Thriller, his record-setting album.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is released in theaters.

1929

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City opens.

1930

The Chrysler Building in New York City is completed. An art deco–style building, the skyscraper was designed by architect William Van Alen.

1938

The design firm Knoll is founded by Hans Knoll. The company's products can currently be found in such museum collections as the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper–Hewitt, National Design Museum.

1939

The Bucks County Playhouse opens with a production of Springtime for Henry.

Wharton Esherick's spiral staircase is exhibited at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair. Esherick's sculptural furniture would earn him the designation as the spiritual father of the American studio furniture movement.

Art critic Clement Greenberg publishes "Avant Garde and Kitsch," theorizing the economic, aesthetic, and conceptual concerns of modern art.

1940

America House opens in New York City and becomes a major retail outlet for American craftspeople.

1943

Woodworker George Nakashima settles in New Hope, Pennsylvania, where he would establish a studio and a reputation as a leading member of the first generation of American studio furniture makers.

1944

The School for American Craftsmen opens at Rochester Institute of Technology with a curriculum designed to develop in its students a mastery of the factors necessary for a successful professional career in the crafts.

1946

Jens Risom launches Jens Risom Design, which promotes Scandinavian furniture design to the American public.

1948

Charles Eames begins to design his signature molded fiberglass armchair, a reflection of the growing use of innovative and synthetic materials in furniture design.

Alberto Giacometti sculpts City Square, conveying the isolation experienced by the modern postwar man.

1950

The Museum of Modern Art initiates Good Design, a five-year exhibition series to promote modern design to the American middle class.

1952

Shop One, a retail craft outlet established by metalsmith John Prip, cabinetmaker Tage Frid, and ceramist Frans Wildenhain, opens in Rochester, New York. Local craftspeople are invited to become associate members.

Lever House (390 Park Avenue, New York City), an iconic glass enclosed skyscraper, is completed.

Harry Bertoia's signature steel lattice chairs are produced for Knoll.

1953

Designer Craftsmen U.S.A. exhibition opens and introduces the concept of the designer-craftsman.

In her essay for the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Dorothy Giles profiled the current environment for craftspeople in America, highlighting the growing opportunities for craftspeople to work with industry.

1956

The Museum of Contemporary Crafts opens in New York City.

1959

The Guggenheim Museum (New York City) opens in an iconic building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Bucks County Playhouse season includes Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's The Man Who Came to Dinner, directed by Robert Caldwell.

1959

The Guggenheim Museum (New York City) opens in an iconic building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Bucks County Playhouse season includes Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's The Man Who Came to Dinner, directed by Robert Caldwell.

1960

The Bucks County Playhouse season includes Reginald Rose's Twelve Angry Men, directed by Alan Schneider.

1961

The Bucks County Playhouse season includes Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Roger Graef.

The first annual Milan furniture fair is launched, now a major showcase event in the global furniture marketplace.

1962

The Bucks County Playhouse season includes Lawrence Roman's Under the Yum Yum Tree, directed by Charles Forsythe.

1963

The Bucks County Playhouse season includes Neil Simon's Nobody Loves Me, directed by Mike Nichols.

1967

The Philadelphia Council of Professional Craftsmen is founded. Led by Helen Drutt, the council emphasizes a professional commitment to craft.

1969

Objects: USA opens, featuring 300 objects by 267 artist-craftsmen and traveling to twenty-one American and ten European venues.

1976

Challenging modernist design principles, Milan-based design group Studio Alchimia is formed by Alessandro and Adriana Guerriero and Bruno and Giorgio Gregori. Contrasting with the clean lines, purity of form, and lack of surface decoration of modernist design, Alchimia products are colorful with dramatic patterning.

1977

The Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, designed by Renzo Piano, Gianfranco Franchini, and Richard Rogers, opens. The building was designed in the style of high-tech architecture, an architectural style that emerged in the 1970s.

1981

The Memphis Group, an Italian design and architecture group, is founded in Milan by Ettore Sottsass. Sottsass and his collaborators subordinate the function of a work to its aesthetic appeal and challenge the idea that products need to have conventional colors, shapes, textures, and patterns.


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Paul Evans: Crossing Boundaries & Crafting Modernism has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Additional generous support has been provided by Rago Arts and Auction Center.


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