Organized by the Brooklyn Museum of Art, this exhibition presented an astonishing cross section of the artistic and material culture of America during World War II and the Cold War.

Stylistically linked by curving, biomorphic shapes that became known as “vital forms,” the 218 objects brought together for this exhibition demonstrated a movement by artists and designers toward a softer, more organic style, reflecting both uncertainty during the nuclear era and a renewed interest in humanity’s relationship to the natural world. Ranging from studio art in traditional media to everyday, functional pieces, works in the exhibition included a gigantic abstract painting by Willem DeKooning; jewelry by Alexander Calder; a 1959 Predicta television; Tupperware; furniture by Charles Eames; and photographic examples of Eero Saarinen’s architecture.

Vital Forms was drawn from the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s own collection; from numerous private collections, corporations, and artists’ personal collections or estates; and from other museums across North America.

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