NYSID and Sotheby's Institutue present mid-century panel discussion

New York, NY - January 26, 2011 - New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) and Sotheby’s Institute of Art will co-sponsor a panel discussion “What Modern Is: True Stories of Midcentury Design” at 6PM on March 4th, 2011, featuring renowned mid-century dealer Mark McDonald, collector John Waddell, Curator of Decorative Arts at the Brooklyn Museum of Art Barry Harwood, and Sotheby’s James Zemaitis. NYSID’s Judith Gura will moderate.

This free program presents the story behind the revival of midcentury furniture and industrial art as told by the key people who made it happen. It previews the Sotheby's exhibition and March 10th sale of objects from the Mark McDonald collection. The panel discussion will feature pioneering dealer Mark McDonald, founder of Fifth/50, probably the country's first gallery of midcentury design; collector John Waddell, whose acquisitions of iconic works are the centerpiece of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 20th century design galleries; Sotheby's SVP and Director of 20th Century Design James Zemaitis, whose deftly-curated sales have helped to develop a broad and enthusiastic market for American midcentury decorative arts, and curator Barry Harwood who oversees the Brooklyn Museum’s highly regarded Decorative Arts holdings. The program is moderated by author and NYSID faculty member Judith Gura.

Audience members will receive a Mark McDonald Collection catalog. Space is limited. Please RSVP at rsvp@nysid.edu or 212-472-1500, ext. 405. The venue is NYSID’s Arthur King Satz Auditorium at 170 East 70th Street.

What Modern Is will offer iconic yet affordable masterworks of American, Scandinavian and Italian design, with many of the works carrying estimates in the range of $5,000-30,000. American midcentury furniture and design is led by Charles and Ray Eames’s Unique ESU Cabinet from the 1950s (est. $25/35,000) and Kem Weber’s “Airline” Chair circa 1934 (est. $18/26,000), as well as museum-quality works by Isamu Noguchi, Frank Lloyd Wright and Rudolph Schindler. The impressive selection of Scandinavian ceramics, glass and wood includes an extremely rare variant of a Leaf Platter by Tapio Wirkkala (est. $20/30,000), as well as Timo Sarpaneva’s iconic “Lancet” vase (est. $20/30,000). The sale also features studio jewelry by Art Smith, Claire Falkenstein and Harry Bertoia, and a selection of contemporary design, led by Ali Tayar’s “Plaza” Screen circa 1999 (est. $8/12,000) and works by Ettore Sottsass, Tejo Remy and Andrea Branzi. What Modern Is will be on exhibition in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries beginning 5 March, alongside the auction of 20th Century Design.


Founded in 1916, the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) is New York’s only private, not-for-profit college devoted exclusively to interior design education and related disciplines. NYSID’s guiding principle is that the interior environment is a fundamental element of human welfare, and the college is committed to actively improving, through design, the quality of life for all segments of humanity. This ideal is put into practice by a dedicated faculty of well-known designers, architects, art historians, and authorities in the field who guide a diverse student body of over 750 full- and part-time students. NYSID offers certificate, undergraduate and graduate programs in the fields of interior design, design history and theory, interior lighting, and sustainable design. The college is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and NYSID’s BFA is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

Press ReleasePhyllis Greer