PITTSBURGH – Carnegie Museum of Art unveils Extraordinary Ordinary Things, a major reinstallation of the museum’s 8,000-square foot Ailsa Mellon Bruce Galleries, opening July 24. Extraordinary Ordinary Things marks the first significant update to the galleries since 2009. The exhibit is ongoing, with no specific end date.
Featuring more than 300 objects, including some 150 recent acquisitions from the museum’s expansive collection, Extraordinary Ordinary Things presents a selection of pieces ranging from the evocative and extraordinary to the practical and every day. As many people’s relationships to their homes and the objects within them take on increased relevance and deeper meaning due to sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, Extraordinary Ordinary Things is a timely and dynamic exhibition that showcases all facets of material and product design, from traditional techniques to innovative technologies.
The show highlights signature works by lauded designers including Tanya Aguiniga, Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Zaha Hadid, Molly Hatch, Thomas Heatherwick, Joris Laarman, Isamu Noguchi, Magdalene Odundo, Jay Sae Jung Oh, Charlotte Perriand, Raw-Edges, Studio DRIFT, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Eva Zeisel. Spanning some of the most significant design developments of the past three centuries, including modernism, hand craft revival, and the emergence of digital designs, the works on view offer boundless inspiration and endless possibilities for functional design, particularly within the home, for visitors to learn about, consider, and enjoy.
“Extraordinary Ordinary Things celebrates the beauty of design—and leverages the familiarity of the objects featured to prompt visitors to reflect on their relationships to material things,” said Rachel Delphia, the museum’s Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design. “We look forward to welcoming visitors into the Ailsa Mellon Bruce Galleries to explore how these objects better our lives with their functionality, add fun and levity through their technology, and uplift and inspire us with their beauty and personal associations.”
The exhibition’s flexible display invites visitors to imagine themselves in the roles of problem-solvers, designers, and makers. The show also helps visitors make connections between the thematic groupings of objects and, in doing so, better understand the worlds in which designers and craftspeople work. The accessible floor plan—made possible by removing existing walls and casework—facilitates associations across time periods, cultures, and materials; it also enables visitors to follow their own paths of discovery throughout the galleries. The large-scale space provides room for individual contemplation and is accommodating to workshops, lectures, tours, public programs, and collaborations, all of which will be offered with Extraordinary Ordinary Things.
# # #