• Konstantin Grcic: Decisive Design
    Zoë Ryan
    Art Institute of Chicago
    Nov 20, 2009 to Jan 24, 2010
    Art Institute of Chicago

Konstantin Grcic, Myto chairs, 2008. Produced by Plank.

Konstantin Grcic: Decisive Design represents the first exhibition in the United States to explore the work of German designer Konstantin Grcic, one of the most renowned designers working today. Organized under the curatorial leadership of Zoë Ryan, Neville Bryan Curator of Design, and developed in collaboration with the designer, this exhibition presented a cross-section of Grcic's work with a focus on productions that were made with the help of advanced technologies from 2004 to date. The exhibition was accompanied by a fully illustrated 104-page catalogue, which featured an essay by Ryan that offered expanded scholarship and emphasized Grcic's seminal position within contemporary design.

Konstantin Grcic (b. 1965) trained as a cabinet maker at Parnham College (England) before studying design at the Royal College of Art in London. Since setting up his own practice Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design in Munich (1991), he has developed furniture, products, and lighting for some of the leading companies in the design field. Many of his products have received international awards (including Compasso d`Oro, 2001) and form part of the permanent collections of the world's most prestigious museums (MoMA, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris). Most recently, Grcic has curated a number of significant design exhibitions such as Design Real for the Serpentine Gallery, London (2009); Comfort for the St. Etienne Design Biennale (2010); and Black2 for the Istituto Svizzero, Rome (2010). Solo exhibitions of his work have been shown at Boijmans van Beuningen Museum (Rotterdam, 2006); Haus der Kunst (Munich, 2006); and the Art Institute of Chicago (2009).

Catalogue author/exhibition curator Zoë Ryan, Neville Bryan Curator of Design, is building the museum's first collection of contemporary design. Her exhibition Graphic Thought Facility was the first at AIC devoted to the work of a single design firm and was hailed by Design Observer as a "practicable proposal for how [design] might continue to be meaningfully presented in a museum context." In 2008, Art+Auction magazine's design issue named her one of "Ten to Watch." Previously, she was senior curator at the Van Alen Institute and a curatorial assistant at MOMA. She often serves as a juror for design and architecture awards and has spoken at numerous international conferences and panels. She has been published in the Architect's Newspaper, Blueprint, Contemporary, Monument, Icon, and Log, among others. In July of 2011, Ryan will assume her new role as chair and John H. Bryan Curator of Architecture and Design.

Founded in 1879, the Art Institute of Chicago collects, preserves, and interprets works of art of the highest quality, representing the world’s diverse artistic traditions, for the inspiration and education of the public and in accordance with the museum profession’s highest ethical standards and practices. Containing more than 270,000 objects in 11 curatorial departments, the museum’s permanent collection is renowned for its French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist holdings and includes one of the most comprehensive museum collections of international modern art ranging from early works by Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, and Constantin Brancusi to Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, and the surrealists. Its photography collection spans the history of the medium from its formal beginning in the 1830s to the present and is widely recognized as one of the strongest in the world. The museum is also home to iconic works in the history of American art and boasts an extensive contemporary collection.