Interaction: British and American Modernist Design

by Alice Kain, Assistant Registrar and Coordinator of Academic Initiatives

last edited on Wed. April 8 2015

The Arts and Crafts movement is perhaps best described as an attitude rather than a style. Originating in Britain in the middle of the nineteenth century, its motivations were social and moral, placing the artisan above the machine. Arts and Crafts designers and philosophers believed that the production of beautiful handmade objects had the ability to lift up all classes.

By the turn of the twentieth century, Arts and Crafts designs and ideas had become internationally influential. In Chicago, the philosophy of the movement was met with interest by professors at the newly founded University. Young architects and designers, as well as philanthropists and craftspeople, established the Second City as a hub for modernist design in America.

This Objects and Voices micro-exhibition shows the relationship between British arts and crafts and American design and architecture. Highlights include the effect the movement had on Chicago, and the role of this University at the time.

A version of this article was originally published in the gallery guide to Objects and Voices. Make your own beuatiful handmade designs during the Smart's free Clocks by Knox event on April 9, 2015.

I do not want art for a few, any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few” —William Morris