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Clement Meadmore: The art of mid-century design

Clement Meadmore, Glass top coffee table 1952, steel, glass, rubber. Harris/Atkins Collection.

Clement Meadmore: The art of mid-century design

20 Nov 2018 - 3 Mar 2019

Guest curated by Dean Keep and Jeromie Maver

Clement Meadmore: The art of mid-century design is the first major survey to focus on the industrial design practice of one of Australia's most internationally successful artists. Curated by Dean Keep and Jeromie Maver, the exhibition charts the evolution of Clement Meadmore's design aesthetic in the 1950s and early 60s, before he shifted his focus to sculpture, and highlights the role Meadmore played alongside Australia’s most innovative and progressive designers of the mid-century period.

The exhibition sheds light on a time when mid-century tastemakers sought to shape post-war Melbourne into a thriving and cosmopolitan city that, through the intersection of art, design and architecture, embodied the ideals and principles of the modernist aesthetic. Meadmore's first furniture design, a steel rod and corded dining chair created in 1951, became an instant hit, catching the attention of the highly influential modernist architect Robin Boyd and receiving the Good Design Award from the Society of Interior Designers of Australia (SIDA). The chair would later form part of the iconic thirteen-piece series known as the Meadmore Originals.

For just over a decade, Meadmore produced a small range of innovative furniture and lighting designs, popular with architects, artists and designers of the period. The ground-breaking modern homes designed by architects such as Robin Boyd, Neil Clerehan and Peter McIntyre were not complete without Meadmore furniture or lighting, often placed alongside pieces by Frances Burke, Grant Featherston, Fred Lowen and Douglas Snelling. Meadmore's furniture and designs were regularly featured in journals such as Australian Home Beautiful and Architecture and Art s, and sold at Marion Hall Best’s showrooms in Sydney and Frances Burke’s New Design store in Melbourne.

The result of 10 years research, Clement Meadmore: The art of mid-century design presents many pieces for the first time, alongside newly discovered Meadmore designs. The exhibition also presents a rare opportunity to see original furniture and lighting designed by Meadmore for the modernist interiors of the Legend Espresso and Milk Bar and the Teahouse. The iconic designs in this exhibition - including chairs, tables, light fixtures, and graphics - are enlivened by archival images and documents, alongside interviews with the artist’s family and colleagues connected to the Melbourne art, jazz and design scenes of the 1950s. Clement Meadmore: The art of mid-century design showcases Meadmore’s rich design practice and shines a light on the important cultural shifts that shaped mid-century Melbourne.

Image:  Clement Meadmore, Glass top coffee table 1952, steel, glass, rubber. Harris/Atkins Collection.

Gallery Details

Ian Potter Museum of Art
The University of Melbourne
Located on Swanston Street between Faraday and Elgin streets
Parkville VIC 3010
T: 03 8344 5148
E: potter-info@unimelb.edu.au 
W:  art-museum.unimelb.edu.au

Opening Hours
Tuesday - Friday: 10am - 5pm 
Saturday and Sunday: 12 noon - 5pm 
Closed Monday
Entry is Free

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Gallery Info
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