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Exhibit shows design revolution

Victoria and Albert Museum in London features Art Deco movement, which influenced art, architecture, fashion.

March 23, 2003|Jane Engle | Times Staff Writer

A major exhibit on the popular Art Deco movement, which influenced design as diverse as architecture and jewelry in the last century, opens Thursday at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

More than 300 paintings and works of sculpture, furniture, textiles, fashion, film and more, from New York to Shanghai, will be part of "Art Deco: 1910-1939." Artists and designers include Rene Lalique, Fernand Leger, Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann and Coco Chanel.

The show focuses on the worldwide effect of Art Deco, a "universal phenomenon transforming the look of everything from factories and cinemas to fashion and photography," said Ghislaine Wood, its chief curator. The style was initially known by such names as "Moderne" or "Streamline Moderne" but was dubbed Art Deco in the 1960s, the museum says.

A highlight will be parts of the 1930s entrance foyer of London's Strand Palace Hotel, displayed for the first time since 1969, when the museum saved the foyer from the wrecking ball. Its distinctive designs, by Oliver P. Bernard (1881-1939), include a mirrored revolving door and internally lighted columns and staircase.

The exhibit, which will run through July 20, follows another Victoria and Albert show on Art Nouveau design, which opened in 2000 to record-setting crowds. The Art Deco show will next travel to Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum (Sept. 15 to Jan. 4), then open later in 2004 at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

Museum admission is free, but the Art Deco exhibit costs about $12 for adults; $6.40 for seniors and students; free under 18. 011-44-870-442-0808, www.vam.ac.uk.

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