Modernism storms the Midwest

CINCINNATI, Ohio – Modernist art and design will take center stage at the Sharonville Convention Center, Feb. 23-24, when Queen City Shows presents 20th Century Cincinnati, its 14th annual retrospective.

This 50-dealer show and sale features the innovative trends in art, furnishings and fashions from the 1920s through 1970s that are collectively known today as modern design. These movements include the Arts & Crafts, Futurism, Art Deco, Streamline, Mid-Century Modern and 1970s Pop Art periods.20C08-1 2-6.jpg

This grouping of Bakelite bracelets dates from the 1930s or 1940s. Multi-colored pieces, especially those with inlaid polka dots or other geometric forms, are considered rare and often command hundreds of dollars in today’s market. Photo courtesy of

The unadorned, geometric forms, abstracted shapes and bold colors of these various art and design movements are found in everything from teacups to skyscrapers.

The show will feature a wide selection of authentic vintage furnishings and lighting from manufacturers such as Herman Miller and Knoll International, as well as a wide variety of period decorative accessories, including paintings, posters, art glass, pottery, dinnerware and textiles. The influence of the century’s signature designers – Russel Wright, Gilbert Rhode, Harry Bertoia, Charles and Ray Eames,20C08-2 2-6.jpg Isamu Noguchi and Eva Zeisel among them – is always evident in the thousands of objects that fill the exhibit hall floor.

Popular weekly magazines like Look and Life marketed Lucite purses to the “fashion wise woman” of the 1950s. This model in the shape of a guitar is still making headlines more than 50 years later with vintage collectors. Photo courtesy of

Cincinnati’s non-profit modern design preservation group, CF3, will present the 2008 20th Century Cincinnati special exhibit: Cincinnati Modern Architecture – A Retrospective. This look back at the city’s often endangered 20th century modernist architectural treasures will include both images and artifacts.

20C08-7 2-6.jpgThe organization’s efforts to document and preserve have included homes designed by such international stars as Frank Lloyd Wright and George Nelson as well as dwellings by Cincinnati’s own Abe and Ben Dombar, Woodie Garber, Ray Roush and Carl Strauss.

The marriage of industrial design with home furnishings is a hallmark of the Modern era. This 1960s electric wall clock mimics the blades of a turbine engine – unmistakable evidence that it belongs in a “jet age” home.

Show hours on Saturday and Sunday are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $7.

The Sharonville Convention Center is located at 11355 Chester Road just off I-75 at the Sharon Road exit (exit #15). For more information, call 513-738-7256, or go online to