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The Top Happenings in the Design World, January 15–21, 2020

Design descends upon Toronto, an exhibit on abstraction in the Arab world, and artists of color celebrate black history.

Objects and Ideas Paradise chair at IDS Toronto

IDS Toronto 2020 222 Bremner Blvd. Toronto, Canada

After some big changes last year (a move to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, a larger show floor, and two full trade days) the annual showcase of innovation in product and interior design is ready to take on the fresh decade with its future-forward IDS 20/20 theme. Along with a variety of exhibits, this year’s lineup of dynamic talks includes guest of honor Yves Béhar, industrial designer and the founder of Fuseproject, a San Francisco-based multidisciplinary firm whose work spans the beauty, fashion, furniture, and technology industries. For even more on the show, read the GRAY guide on what to do and see. (January 16–19, 2020; times and prices vary)

Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World Grey Art Gallery, New York University, 100 Washington Square E., New York

This exhibition, drawn from the Sharjah, United Arab Emirates,-based Barjeel Art Foundation collection, follows the departure from figuration and a move toward the development of abstraction in the Arab art world via paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. The show features 90 pieces from artists such as Etel Adnan, Shakir Hassan Al Said, Huguette Caland, Saloua Raouda Choucair, Rachid Koraïchi, and others. (January 14–April 4, 2020; times and prices vary)

Black Histories, Black Futures Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston

Expect works by 20th-century artists of color that explore and celebrate black histories, experiences, and self-representations. The exhibit has been curated by young scholars in a partnership between the MFA and local youth empowerment organizations and involves a reimagining of a central area within the museum, which will serve as a centerpiece to its 150th anniversary celebration this year. (January 20–June 20, 2021; 10 a.m.–5 p.m., prices vary)

Maison & Objet Parc des Expositions, ZAC Paris Nord 2, Villepinte, France 

Paris’ whirlwind tradeshow highlighting the latest in interiors, furniture, and design will offer a window into the future. This year’s theme, (RE) GENERATION, introduces the shifting lifestyle habits of young people, and their potential to reshape the design world in years to come. (January 17–21, 2020; times and prices vary)

Track Work: One Hundred Years of New York City’s Subway ACA Galleries, 529 West 20th St., New York

Reflect on the architectural and cultural impact of New York’s iconic subway system throughout the past century. More than twenty artists illustrate their interpretations of New York’s defining mode of transportation via a variety of media. (January 15–March 17, 2020; times and prices vary)


The Design Datebook is GRAY’s weekly list of must-attend design and cultural events around the world.

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