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Past Exhibitions

Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting

July 2–September 26, 2021

Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting emphasizes lighting’s role in propelling innovation in design. Due to the efforts of American and European scientists, inventors, and manufacturers beginning in the late 1800s, electric light bulbs and their attendant fixtures began to pervade domestic and urban life. This ultimately spawned a field that took into consideration both function and aesthetics, sparking wonderment through innovation and the alchemy of light.

Lighting engages with advances in technology and materials and serves as a leading indicator of changing aesthetic movements. Rather than presenting a comprehensive survey, this exhibition examines key contributions by international lighting designers and manufacturers through the lens of three ideas—Typologies, The Bulb, and Quality of Light. Throughout the exhibition, the most compelling, innovative, influential, and, sometimes, earliest expressions of a concept can be seen both as functional works and as awe-inspiring forms that delight.

Electrifying Design demonstrates that lighting is a crucial, integral practice in modern and contemporary life. The works in this exhibition stand at the crossroads of the history and the future of lighting design: illuminating the past and present while revealing filaments of the ideas and forms that may potentially spark the imaginations of ensuing generations.

Click on an image below to learn more.


Organization and Support

Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

This exhibition is made possible by

Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor

Delta logo.

Premier Exhibition Series Supporters
Sarah and Jim Kennedy
Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot
Dr. Joan H. Weens Estate
wish Foundation logo.

Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporters
Anne Cox Chambers Foundation
Robin and Hilton Howell

Ambassador Exhibition Supporters
The Antinori Foundation
Corporate Environments
Elizabeth and Chris Willett

Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
Farideh and Al Azadi
Sandra and Dan Baldwin
The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust
Lucinda W. Bunnen
Marcia and John Donnell
Helen C. Griffith
Mrs. Fay S. Howell/The Howell Fund
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones
The Arthur R. and Ruth D. Lautz Charitable Foundation
Joel Knox and Joan Marmo
Dr. Joe B. Massey
Margot and Danny McCaul
Wade Rakes and Nicholas Miller
The Fred and Rita Richman Fund
In Memory of Elizabeth B. Stephens by Powell Stephens, Preston Stephens, and Sally Stephens Westmoreland
USI Insurance Services
Mrs. Harriet H. Warren

Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.