Norman Bel Geddes

I Have Seen the Future

October 16, 2013 - February 10, 2014

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The first major exploration of the theater and industrial designer who The New York Times  dubbed “the Leonardo da Vinci of the 20th century.”

A visionary who was equally comfortable in the realms of fact and fiction, Bel Geddes (1893-1958) played a significant role in the 1920s and '30s, shaping not only modern America but also the nation’s image of itself as innovator and leader into the future. Bel Geddes most famously expressed his dynamic vision of this American future—streamlined, technocratic, and optimistic--with his unforgettable Futurama exhibition at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair. Bringing together some 200 never-before-seen drawings, models, photographs and films of theater sets and costumes, housing projects and appliances, airplanes and automobiles, the exhibition underscores that Bel Geddes sought nothing less the transformation of American society through design.

Norman Bel Geddes: I Have Seen the Future is a collaboration between the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the Museum of the City of New York. First presented at the Ransom Center, the exhibition has been curated by Donald Albrecht, the Museum's Curator of Architecture and Design. The exhibition's accompanying book, Norman Bel Geddes Designs America, is co-published by the Ransom Center and the Museum in conjunction with Abrams.


  • "Design Review: Back to the Future with Norman Bel Geddes," Mark Feeney for The Boston Globe
  • "A New Look at Modernist Hero Norman Bel Geddes," Paul Goldberger for Vanity Fair


The exhibition is made possible by the generous support of William T. Georgis.

Additional support is provided by:

Todd DeGarmo/STUDIOS Architecture
Felicia Fund, Inc.
Nixon Peabody LLC
Peter Pennoyer Architects
Joyce F. Menschel
David Rago and Suzanne Perrault
Taconic Charitable Foundation
Suzanne Davis and Rolf Ohlhausen
Lee Gelber
Jacqueline and Mortimer Sackler

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