Norman Bel Geddes (1893-1958), “Motor Car No. 9 (without tail fin),” ca. 1933
Photograph Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation / Harry Ransom Center

Norman Bel Geddes was among the first and most significant American industrial designers, a celebrity group that included such luminaries as Russel Wright, Donald Deskey and Henry Dreyfuss. And it was the dawn of industrial design in the United States in the 1920s that essentially started the momentum and significance of American design, in all its forms, that still exists to this day. Norman Bel Geddes: I Have Seen the Future at the Museum of the City of New York is the first major exhibition devoted solely to the work of Bel Geddes, and it is about time. Bel Geddes was an extremely diverse and prolific designer whose work transcended a number of fields and this show clearly reflects that. He started out designing theater and film sets and went on to introduce a futuristic streamlined vocabulary in the design of everything from automobiles to household objects to architecture and urban planning, the latter as evidenced by his greatly celebrated Futurama exhibit at the 1939/40 New York World’s Fair. Bel Geddes’ impact on and contribution to American modern design was tremendous and this fascinating show at MCNY is a most fitting tribute.        

Norman Bel Geddes: I Have Seen the Future is on view through February 10, 2014.