From disobedient objects to “Kentian” style to court interiors, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is offering up a full range of exhibitions for the year ahead. Here’s a look at the design ideas it will be exploring in 2014.
William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain, March 22 – July 13
The most prominent architect and designer in early Georgian Britain will be the subject of this exhibition, which will explore how his versatility and artistic inventiveness set the style for Kent’s age when Britain defined itself as a new nation and developed an Italian-inspired style.
This exhibition will bring together over 200 objects including architectural drawings for such prominent buildings as the Treasury and Horse Guards at Whitehall, designs for landscape gardens, sculpture, furniture, silver as well as paintings and illustrated books.
Celebrating Kent’s art over three decades (1719-48), this exhibition will show the breadth and ingenuity of the Kentian style, ranging from spectacular gilt furniture to vivid interiors such as Houghton Hall, Chiswick House and his landscape gardens at Rousham, Holkham Hall and elsewhere.
Disobedient Objects, July 26 – February 1
From Suffragette teapots to protest robots, this exhibition will be the first to examine the powerful role of objects in movements for social change. It will demonstrate how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity and collective creativity that defy standard definitions of art and design.
Disobedient Objects will focus on the period from 1980 to the present, a time that has brought new technologies and political challenges. On display will be arts of rebellion from around the world that illuminate the role of making objects during grassroots movements for social change: finely woven banners, defaced currency, changing designs for barricades and blockades, political video games, an inflatable general assembly to facilitate consensus decision-making, experimental activist-bicycles, and textiles bearing witness to political murders.
Europe 1600 – 1800 Galleries, Opens December 2014
Europe 1600 – 1800 will see the complete redesign and redisplay of seven galleries containing some of the most magnificent and elaborate works of art and design in the V&A collections. On display will be examples of textiles and fashion, painting and sculpture, ceramics and glass, furniture and metalwork and prints and books, created by Europe’s finest artists and craftsmen in the 17th and 18th centuries. Some displays will suggest the grandeur of court interiors for which the larger and more elaborate pieces were made, others will recreate surviving period rooms and evoke the more intimate interiors. Around 1,100 objects will explore the European art and design of that time period.