The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) launches a comprehensive assessment of contemporary Western European design on March 8, 2009, in what may become an international traveling exhibition. Organized by IMA design curator R. Craig Miller, in cooperation with the Denver Art Museum and Kingston University, London, European Design Since 1985: Shaping the New Century, will juxtapose the Modernism and Post-Modernism movements in Europe that influenced 21st-century designs. Tracing the evolution of design through this era, the exhibition seeks to define Europe's role in driving design during the past two decades by exploring the aesthetics and concepts that have influenced design internationally.

Featuring 250 pieces of furniture, metalwork, ceramic, glass, and industrial products created by 118 designers from 14 Western European countries spanning the past two decades, the exhibit showcases pieces from early influencers, such as the contemporary ceramics of Dutch designer Hella Jongerius, to industrial furniture crafted by two of France's rising stars, the Bouroullec brothers. It will be the first major exhibit to be held in the museum's IMA Design Center, which opened last October.

According to Maxwell L. Anderson, the Melvin & Bren Simon director and CEO of the IMA, the exhibition is crucial to the museum's creation of an important design department. "Under Craig Miller's leadership, we are implementing a number of initiatives, including actively building our collection, opening new permanent galleries for our design holdings, and offering innovative design solutions for our visitors through our new Design Center," said Anderson.

The show will commence with a two-day international symposium where designers, critics, scholars, manufacturers, and dealers will learn more about European design through presentations by leading figures. There is also an additional four-session program for educators and undergraduate and graduate design students.

European Design will be on display at the IMA through June 21, 2009, after which it will travel to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and then on to other yet-to-be-announced American venues. For more information about the exhibit and the international symposium, visit www.imamuseum.orgweaetxdyvaydzcwq.