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Best Look at the Recent Past

Only the stout of heart and the sharp of eye have the courage to historically evaluate the material culture of our own time. But that's exactly what R. Craig Miller, the Denver Art Museum's curator of architecture, design and graphics, has done with US Design 1975-2000. Still open, the exhibit includes photos and models of buildings, chairs and teapots, posters and Web sites. Miller lays out his elaborate story in four chapters, beginning with postmodernism and ending with a revived modernism -- with retro and expressionism sandwiched in between. Some of the most important old master figures of the period, such as Michael Graves and Robert Venturi, are examined in depth, as are some emerging international design stars -- notably, Karim Rashid. Miller's done such a good job that the show, which is accompanied by a groundbreaking catalogue, has attracted the attention of the international design press, and that puts the DAM's architecture, design and graphics department on the map.


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