Exhibition: I Have Seen the Future

Exhibition – I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America is the first major exploration of the theater and industrial designer who The New York Times dubbed “the Leonardo da Vinci of the 20th century.” This exhibition is a collaboration between the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the Museum of the City of New York.

A visionary who was equally comfortable in the realms of fact and fiction, Bel Geddes(1893-1958) played a significant role in the 1920s and ’30s, shaping not only modern America but also the nation’s image of itself as innovator and leader into the future. Bel Geddes most famously expressed his dynamic vision of this American future—streamlined, technocratic, and optimistic–with his unforgettable Futurama exhibition at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair. Bringing together some 200 never-before-seen drawings, models, photographs and films of theater sets and costumes, housing projects and appliances, airplanes and automobiles, the exhibition underscores that Bel Geddes sought nothing less than the transformation of American society through design.

The exhibition has been curated by Donald Albrecht, the Museum’s Curator of Architecture and Design, with assistance from Cathy Henderson and Helen Baer at the Ransom Center. The exhibition’s accompanying book, Norman Bel Geddes Designs America, is co-published by the Ransom Center and the Museum in conjunction with Abrams.


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