Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future is a traveling exhibition that comprehensively surveys the work of this key midcentury architect, best known — locally, at least — for the Gateway Arch.
A Finnish immigrant, Saarinen came from a family of diverse architectural, artistic and decorative talent and imported this totalizing approach to his work, notably diverse in style and scope, which came to ultimately define the forward thrust of the Modernist American ethos. Little more need be said here, as this show is abundantly informative — proliferating with timelines, videos, furniture pieces, models, large-scale photos, architectural models and in-depth textural addenda.
Courtesy Eero Saarinen Collection, Yale University
Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future
Through April 27 at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Forsyth & Skinker boulevards (on the campus of Washington University); 314-935-4523 or www.kemperartmuseum
.wustl.edu. Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily (closed Tue., open till 8 p.m. Fri.).
It successfully adds up to an advanced education in Saarinen, but also, with timely importance, Modernism — asking important questions of this highly contestable progressive spirit, whose lingering influence has been alternately that of hope disastrously dashed or freshly, if desperately, invoked.
Click here for a complete list of St. Louis art capsules.