Cranbrook exhibit gives Michigan its due in modern design

California hogs the limelight in mid-century modern that style, both snappy and elegant, portrayed with curatorial perfection on TVs Mad Men.

The truth is that modernism (broader than just its mid-century variant) sprang simultaneously from two centers of design ferment, Los Angeles and Detroit significantly, both car-obsessed towns that put a premium on appearance. But Michigans contribution has gotten short shrift in recent decades.

Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America, an exhibit Friday-Oct. 13 at the Cranbrook Art Museum, aims to change all that. (Cranbrook is also hosting a major conference on the subject today through Sunday.) With its emphasis on architecture, furniture and cars, Michigan Modern, sponsored by the State Historic Preservation Office, examines how Modernism came to define virtually every aspect of contemporary life. In the process, the show traces a creative arc that stretches from Henry Fords revolutionary factories to the tail fins on

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