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Culture notes: MODA to open exhibit on modernist Saarinen; MOCA GA benefit; Contemporary plans renovation

VISUAL ART
An overarching look at architect who created the St. Louis arch
The Museum of Design Atlanta takes a thoroughly modern turn with its next exhibit, “Eero Saarinen: A Reputation for Innovation,” a retrospective of the Finnish-born architect opening April 14.

Curated by architect, architectural historian and Georgetown University professor Mina Marefat, the exhibit tracks the design principles Saarinen followed and his achievements, including the Saint Louis Gateway Arch, the TWA Terminal at New York’s JFK Airport and Washington’s Dulles Airport. The show also explores a little-known chapter of Saarinen’s professional life when he served in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II.

Also known for his furniture design, including a long association with Knoll, Saarinen died in 1961 at age 51 during an operation for a brain tumor. Design Within Reach still carries his “tulip” chairs as well as a variety of tables and ottomans.

“Eero Saarinen: A Reputation for Innovation” will run through June 30. MODA admission is $10, $8 seniors, $5 students with valid ID and ages 6-17. 1315 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-979-6455, www.museumofdesign.org. HOWARD POUSNER

VISUAL ART
Build your art collection, help a museum

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) will hold its annual MOCA Gala Art Auction from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 13.

A change this year is that the Buckhead museum is emphasizing its silent auction area, where bidding will be by smart phone or mobile device (or, for those unequipped, a MOCA GA computer). In addition, potential bidders will be able to preview the artwork and bid online by signing in at www.501auctions.com/moca.

The live auction will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets, $150, include a full bar and catered buffet, available throughout the evening.

Scan the long list of top-flight contributing Georgia artists at www.mocaga.org. MOCA GA is at 75 Bennett St., Atlanta. 404-367-8700. HOWARD POUSNER

ARTS
Contemporary preps for an updating
The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center has announced plans for a $500,000 renovation to its home since 1989, planned for mid-June to late September.

The Atlanta architectural firm BLDGS has been commissioned to create an updated and more efficient design. Planned enhancements include a new lecture hall and event space; redesigned lobby, reception areas and restrooms; a weather-proof covering and new lighting for the outdoor pavilion, making it suitable year-round programs and events; a redesigned resource room with natural light; and new energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems.

The Contemporary, located in a converted 1920s warehouse complex just west of downtown, continues to raise funds for the renovation. Donations may be made to the Contemporary at 535 Means St. NW, Atlanta. More information: Lane Conville-Canney, development director, 404-688-1970, Ext. 211, or lconville-canney@thecontemporary.org. HOWARD POUSNER

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