Fall 2009 —
Modern’s debut issue stakes out the territory clearly: the strange dichotomy in which the design culture and decorative arts of the last one hundred years has managed to be both neglected and highly desirable. This new title joins its older sibling ‘Antiques’ as an authoritative and rather passionate voice aimed at collectors and fans of its particular areas of focus. Offering its credentials admirably in the first issue, Modern has much that makes it a welcome addition to the offer of niche – but accessible- titles surveying the field. And, in the American context in which it is published, it is the first title devoted specifically to the topic outside of the realms of academia.
Of particular note is Gregory Cerio’s article on the California tradition of beautiful and unusual studio furniture. Cerio provides an enlightening insight into the special furniture that flourished in the Golden State, particularly in the inter-bellum period, noted for its sweeping lines, experimental and playful character. Also of particular note is Martin Filler’s feature on Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Barcelona chair, some eight decades on. Though Filler does not say anything with which there is likely to be any immediate disagreement, there might be some (European) scholars of Modernism who might grunt at errors of omission. Nonetheless, this only underscores the articles central tenet that the work remains iconic.