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Philbrook debuts Campana Brothers exhibition to North America
Harumaki, 2004 Estudio Campana, Photo: Fernando Laszlo.

TULSA, OK.- Philbrook Museum of Art opened Antibodies: The Works of Fernando and Humberto Campana, 1989-2009, an exhibition of Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany. Following an extensive tour of Europe and South America, this mid-career retrospective of these Brazilian brothers’ contemporary designs features over 200 objects including furniture, art pieces, jewelry, and every day objects as curated by MathiasSchwartz-Clauss of the Vitra Design Museum. This exhibition will run through October 7, 2012.

Through merging the high-tech and the hand-made, Fernando and Humberto Campana have built a name for themselves as unconventional design by bringing the culture of their native Brazil or personal experience into each piece. In Favela the brothers showcase the hybridity of So Paolo with this functional chair built to mimic the city’s “slums,” where residents build makeshift houses using any materials found. Another chair in this exhibition, Una Famiglia (One Family), brings together the common plastic porch chair with the folk art of weaving whereas an Untitled piece from 2005 merges common glass with semi-precious gemstones, both evoking juxtaposition for the observer.

Antibodies, the first comprehensive Campana retrospective, highlights both sides of the brothers’ work: the art and the design. Organized into loose groupings that explore the various approaches to the brothers’ designs, this show embraces the nave innocence and spontaneity that has launched them into two of the most stunning figures in contemporary design. The exhibition groupings include: Fragments, Hybrids, Found Objects, Knots/Sticks, Organics, Flexed Planes, Paper Pieces, and Clusters. Curator Mathias Schwartz-Clauss relied on the EstudioCampana in So Paolo to bring forward a number of unknown or never-exhibited prototypes and one-of-a-kind creations.

The first of a three-exhibition series between Philbrook and Vitra Design Museum, this relationship between these institutions showcases the importance of design to the future of Philbrook. “This partnership augments our own design aspirations perfectly,” commented Rand Suffolk, Philbrook Executive Director/President. “Philbrook Downtown, scheduled to open Spring 2013, will emphasize design with permanent gallery space dedicated to this important category. From the iPhone and running shoes to chairs and vehicles, design encompasses all of us; together Vitra Design Museum and Philbrook elevate the dialogue on design among Museum-goers throughout the Central U.S.” Through this partnership, Philbrook holds exclusive rights to three Vitra Design Museum exhibitions within a 425-km (264-mile) radius of Tulsa.

Vitra Design Museum, founded in 1989 as an independent private foundation, now serves as an internationally renowned museum for design. The museum’s collection focuses on furniture and interior design centering around the bequest of U.S. designers Charles and Ray Eames, as well as numerous works of designers such as George Nelson, Alvar Aalto, Verner Panton, and Dieter Rams. Located in Weil am Rhein, Germany, the museum building was Frank O. Gehry’s first building in Europe and serves as an architectural attraction in its own right. In addition to a continuous execution of temporary exhibitions, Vitra Design Museum produces workshops, publications, and museum products.

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