Wendell Castle Celebrated American Sculptor/Designer to Attend Grand Opening Festivities for Modernism Museum Mount Dora

For Public Release, October 1, 2013

Mount Dora, Florida, a Fine Art and Craft Community, is proud to announce the opening of Modernism Museum Mount Dora. Home to a unique and expansive collection of Modernist art by some of the most iconic and influential American masters of the craft is set to open Sunday, October 6. Festivities commence with a “Meet the Experts” session, at 11am, where participants will have the rare opportunity to have an unprecedented conversation with Wendell Castle and other luminaries discussing Modernism and its impact on 21st-Century design and architecture.

“Meet the Experts” panel is comprised of Wendell Castle, Celebrated American Sculptor/Designer; David Rago and Suzanne Perrault, Rago Arts and ANTIQUES ROADSHOW; John Sollo, Style Arts Author/Consultant and ANTIQUES ROADSHOW; Bob Aibel, Founder and Director of Moderne Gallery; and Paul Eisenhauer, Executive Director & Curator of The Wharton Esherick Museum. This select group will be on hand for a brief presentation followed by a Question and Answer period. Individuals attending this session, will receive a "Modernism 101" certificate, good for free entry into the Museum when it opens it’s doors at 1:00pm that day.

A private collection, decades in the making, debuts as the museum’s first exhibition entitled, Wharton to Wendell. This offering gives visitors an opportunity to develop and deepen their appreciation of the fine artists who saw the potential for beauty in utilitarian objects. This unprecedented collection of fine art and design offers the most rare and iconic pieces gathered in one place.

Wharton Esherick is considered the Dean of American Craftsmen for his leadership in developing nontraditional designs. His 1963 interpretation of the Spiral Stair is a centerpiece of the collection. This Spiral Stair was inspired by the 1930s architectural masterpiece from his own home in Paoli, Pennsylvania and borrowed by architect George Howe who created the Pennsylvania Hill House exhibit for the 1939 World’s Fair. Other pieces of note include the 1929 DeSilva Table, Spiral Library Stair and a number of exceptional Esherick sculptures, among them Andante and Sad Sack.

Wendell Castle, American Sculptor/Designer who has been called the Father of the American Studio Art Movement, celebrated his 80th  birthday in 2012 with a series of exhibitions in esteemed museums such as Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, Connecticut), Friedman Benda (New York City, New York), Barry Friedman Ltd (New York City, New York) and the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, (Louisville, Kentucky). His famed Stool Sculpture will captivate museum guests as it is the piece that validated Castle’s assertion that practical objects can be works of art.  In 1959, Castle entered this carving into a juried art show and when it was favorably received, he admitted that it was actually a stool, elevating the design of furniture to an art form.  Among the many pieces in the collection are the Bronze Angel Chair, and the engaging, Tick Tock Kick Clock.

Prominently displayed will be Castle’s largest work to date which is slated to be his most famous piece, A New Environment, an installation of stack-laminated pieces spanning two-stories. Inspiring dreamers to imagine, Castle incorporates seating pieces, a table, a lamp, and a spiral staircase leading to a tree house type private space.

Subsequent exhibitions at Modernism Museum Mount Dora will showcase the works of Sam Maloof, George Nakashima, Arthur Espenet Carpenter and Albert Paley, all leaders in their field who shaped the movement and continue to influence the artists who follow them.  The museum’s permanent Wharton Esherick collection will connect the master’s work with that of his successors, inspiring visitors to better understand and enjoy the evolution of the art.

The museum will offer an audio tour to enhance the visitor experience by providing insights into the artist’s creative processes as well as the connection of the aesthetic to the functional -- allowing them to gain a more powerful appreciation of the collection and the genre. Through a generous donation from David Rago and Suzanne Perrault, the museum will offer access to the archived collection of Modernism Magazine to students and scholars through the Modernism Institute.  The museum’s retail store will offer related items for sale.

“The Modernism Museum Mount Dora is doing something that has never been done before,” says Executive Director and Curator of the Wharton Esherick Museum, Paul Eisenhauer.  “It provides an opportunity for people to interpret the world around them and the objects in it in an entirely different way.”

Modernism Museum Mount Dora is located at 145 E. Fourth Avenue, Mount Dora, Florida and is open Tuesday – Sunday, 352-385-0034 Admission $8 adults, $7 Seniors & College Students with I.D., $5 for ages 4-17 with student I.D., Mount Dora residents, Military and Service Personnel 50% off with I.D www.ModernismMuseum.org

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Dan Saal