Apostles of Beauty: Arts and Crafts from Britain to Chicago

Exhibition

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Responding to both the perceived inferiority of machine-made objects and the ills created by industrialization, the Arts and Crafts movement sought to restore dignity to labor and integrate art into daily life. In pursuit of these goals, many designers and theorists advocated handcrafting, stressed the integrity of materials and straightforward construction, and, for aesthetic inspiration, frequently looked to the natural world and non-Western cultures, creating stunning works still admired and collected today.
The exhibition traces the history of the Arts and Crafts movement through its complex stylistic and philosophical influences. Galleries explore the movement’s early roots in Britain and the impact of William Morris and his group on the next generation of architect-designers; its intersection with the phenomenon of Japanism in both British and American design; the development of American Arts and Crafts style and its popularization through specialized periodicals; the connections between the movement’s philosophies and pictorialism in photography; and Chicago’s early acceptance of the British model and its later role in uniting hand and machine in the service of beauty.

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