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'Design Genius' Displays Work At Rye Arts Center In September

Irving Harper's works will debut at the Rye Arts Center.
Irving Harper's works will debut at the Rye Arts Center. Photo Credit: D. James Dee

RYE, N.Y. -- "Irving Harper: A Mid-Century Mind At Play" will debut at The Rye Arts Center Sunday, Sept. 14.

Known professionally for his iconic contributions to George Nelson Office, including the 1949 Ball  Clock, Herman Miller logo and the 1956 Marshmallow sofa, Harper’s personal creations have never  before been shared publicly.

Curated by Katharine Dufault and Jeff Taylor, the exhibit opens Sunday, Sept. 14, with a reception in The Rye Arts Center Gallery from 1 to 3 p.m., and runs through Saturday, Nov. 8.

Created meticulously by hand using primarily paper and Elmer’s glue, these sculptures and wall art represent a body of work spanning a period of more than 50 years and introduces the private artist behind the professional mid-century designer. The tour de force exhibit offers the public the very first opportunity to see Harper’s creative mind at play.

Harper, who celebrated his 98th birthday on July 14, lives modestly in his 19th century home in Rye, surrounded by a rich tapestry of more than 300 personal paper sculptures, which cover every surface of each room and wall, with additional works in his adjacent barn. He has never before allowed the works to be removed from his home.

"One is immediately taken by the visual feast of creativity present in Harper's home; a menagerie of paper sculpture and colorful wall pieces," said Dufault. "We are excited to recreate the experience to share with the public."

"When you see the totality of his oeuvre, he was a virtuoso on every instrument in the 20th century orchestra of styles,-- cubism, surrealism, abstraction, minimalism as well as influences such as  African Art and Outsider Art,” said Taylor.

The Rye Arts Center is at 51 Milton Road,  Rye. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., closed  Mondays.

For more information, visit The Rye Arts Center website or call 914-967-0700.

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