In February 2016, Mad Men Property Master Ellen Freund hired me to assist her and Lionsgate with the installation of an exhibit about Mad Men in Palm Springs for Modernism Week.
Exhibition Wall Text
Design choices for Mad Men were about much more than simply dressing a set. The creator of the series, Matthew Weiner, constantly reminded the design team that “Everything is story!” In other words, every object helps form a character. Our design team became obsessed not only with detail, but also storytelling. We were equally sensitive about keeping Mad Men “real,” another direction established early on by Weiner, who insisted we present him with “horses instead of zebras” (the quotidian instead of the exceptional). We therefore chose objects that would not overwhelm a set or disproportionately stand out.
This exhibit consists of furniture, objects, costumes, props, and artwork from Mad Men, a television series that has become known for its meticulous dedication to design and craft. For Mad Men at Modernism Week, I created displays that tell small stories about the making of the show and the passion with which we approached the task. The design team felt an obligation to represent accurately the reality of an era to audiences who lived it, as well as those who were visiting it for the first time.
Curator: Ellen Freund, Property Master
Other Mad Men Design Team Members: Dan Bishop (Production Designer), Claudette Didul (Set Decorator), Janie Bryant (Costume Designer), and Evan Regester (Graphic Designer)
Sponsored by Tribeca Shortlist and Lionsgate
Modernism Week-related: #modernismweek
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Selection of Objects Displayed
Don Draper’s bar cart, brutalist credenza, stereo cabinet, coat rack, blue lamp, IBM Selectric Typewriter, typewriter table, orange chairs
Pete Campbell’s screens
Peggy Olson’s chair, table
Sally Draper’s white and yellow side table
Betty Draper’s bar cart
Roger Sterling’s white chair, chrome shelves and side table, sofa, and travertine coffee table
A wide selection of props
Mannequins dressed with costumes