Why Did Mae West's Lips Inspire An Iconic Modernist Sofa? Kirkland Museum's 'Art in Small Bytes' Delivers Such Tasty Crumbs of Knowledge Online

  • DENVER, Colorado
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  • May 05, 2020

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Kirkland Museum Italian Modern Vignette featuring the Bocca Sof a (1970) designed by Studio65; Coffee Table (1950s), Lounge Table (c. 1964) and Superleggera Chair (1957) designed by Gio Ponti; Nesting Tables (1951) and Armchair from Casa Cesare Larini, Como ( 1950 ) designed by Ico & Luisa Parisi and Referential Abstract ion paintings by Colorado artists William Sanderson, James Mills, Tracy Felix, Trine Bumiller and Sushe Felix.
photo: Wes Magyar
Hot Lips Telephone (Model 410R - TF) , 1983 , designed and manufactured by TeleQuest (1983 – 1990) , Gift of Tracy & Sushe Felix . Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art.

Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art debuts its third virtual exhibition, Art in Small Bytes, another digital experience intended to amuse, inform and leave the viewer wanting more. Art in Small Bytes can be accessed online beginning Thursday, May 7.

While social distancing at home, more time is spent with digital bytes of data to connect and learn virtually. A “byte” is a unit of digital information made of zeros and ones that represents a character such as a letter or number. As in the computer world of bits and bytes, Kirkland Museum groups smaller pieces together to create a larger, unified whole referred to as a vignette.

Superleggera Chair (Model 699 ), 1957 , designed by Gio Ponti (1891 – 1979) , manufactured by Cassina . Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art.

For this virtual exhibition, Kirkland Museum disassembled a vignette grouping of period objects and artworks in the museum into smaller pieces. The public is invited to take a deep dive and “byte” into the Italian Modern vignette from Modern Gallery 7 to get a better taste of the collection.

“As we continue to stay home keeping ourselves and one another healthy, you’ve probably noticed a significant increase in the amount of digital information you consume daily,” states Kirkland Museum’s Associate Museum Director Renée Albiston. “If you must spend time online, spend it expanding your knowledge of beautiful objects, such as those featured in Art in Small Bytes.”

Art in Small Bytes provides information and images featuring objects by designers such as Gio Ponti and Ico & Luisa Parisi alongside works by Colorado artists.

“Modern Italian design is known for its often vivid colors, flamboyant, sculptural shapes and imaginative uses of materials," notes Kirkland Museum Founding Director & Curator Hugh Grant.

As for the eye-catching, red-lipped sofa, this is Studio65’s best known design and gained its inspiration from Salvador Dalí’s The Face of Mae West which may be used as a Surrealist Apartment, 1934–1935. The Bocca Sofa was created in 1970 as a tribute to Salvador Dalí.

Other virtual exhibitions still on view include Pull Up a Chair and Process and Print. Kirkland Museum’s virtual exhibitions can be accessed at kirklandmuseum.org/virtual-exhibitions/.

For more information, please visit kirklandmuseum.org.

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