Moment of Truth

"Blow Away Vase" is a 2008, porcelain structure created by designers in Sweden. The piece portrays "time visualized," one of three categories in the exhibit.

While traditional art museums typically feature art to be admired and not touched, an exhibit that opens Friday breaks down those one-dimensional barriers.

Design by Time, which explores the passage of time in art and design, can be seen at N.C. State University’s Gregg Museum of Art and Design Jan. 24 through May 17. The traveling exhibition is a collection of textiles, carpets, furniture, fashion and clocks. It also includes music you must put headphones on to listen to, a video to watch on an iPad and plants that grow.

“We were seeing a lot of design objects that were embodying the dynamism and the movement of time within them, and that is kind of antithetical to what most design objects are about,” said co-curator Judith Fox, who partners with Ginger Duggan as curatorsquared.

“Blow Away Vase,” one 36 pieces that make up the exhibition, initially sparked Fox’s interest. The white and blue vase appears as if the clay was hit by a powerful gust of wind, expressing movement and capturing a moment in time.

Fox and Duggan, who divided the exhibition into three categories, classify the vase as “time visualized,” because you can see how time and the elements have acted on the piece. The other two categories are “time as creator,” which includes pieces that are actively growing or evolving due to natural forces, and “time performed,” where specific, purposeful actions must take place for the art to exist.

“Usually, design objects are primarily about their function and about being stable,” Fox said. “We find it fascinating to see design objects that express a narrative, and when that narrative is about a complex, dynamic concept, such as time, we are particularly interested.”

Design by Time was organized by the Pratt Institute in New York. Featured in the exhibition are 22 artists and studio groups from around the world, ranging from an artist working on his thesis to big names in the design industry.

“We like to highlight the new, fresh, young generation of designers and then show the sources from which they came. Then we like to show the more senior designers … to show their influence and show that their work is inspirational and vital and inspiring the next generation of makers,” Fox said.

Admission to the Gregg Museum, 1903 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh, is free. For hours and visitor information, visit For more details on the exhibit, visit

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