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It Was All Modern: Art, Craft and the Rhetoric of the Marketplace

January 18, 2018   5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Join Rago Auctions and curator Ulysses Grant Dietz on Thursday Jan 18, 2018 as he delivers a presentation titled “It Was All Modern: Art, Craft and the Rhetoric of the Marketplace.” Every object, when it was first made, was modern. Chippendale called his chairs modern, and so did Frank Lloyd Wright. “Modern” as a style is a construct invented in the 20th century to promote the aesthetic agenda of modernists at the expense of all styles that didn’t fit into their rules. This idea has been transmitted to the marketplace and into the galleries of museums that benefit from the marketplace. This presentation will look at a range of modern objects, from the 1890s to the 21st century, and explore the different meanings of “modern."

Curator of Decorative Arts at the Newark Museum since 1980, Ulysses Dietz has organized or hosted over 100 exhibitions during his tenure, ranging in topic from quilts to jewelry, from colonial to contemporary. His proudest achievement was the dramatic restoration and reinterpretation of the museum’s 1885 John and Jeannette Ballantine house, a national historic landmark. The first restoration was done in 1976 for the national Bicentennial, and the latest completed in 1994.

Dietz is the author of over a dozen books, and scores of articles and essays on every topic from furniture and silver to all sorts of ceramics.

The open house begins at 5:00 p.m. at the Rago Arts and Auction Center. The talk begins at 6:00 p.m.

It Was All Modern: Art, Craft and the Rhetoric of the Marketplace