Finnish Modern Design: Utopian Ideals and Everyday Realities, 1930-1997 considered the development of Finland’s flourishing modern design culture as well as its relationship to broader political and cultural issues.

Beginning with the impact of the groundbreaking Stockholm Exhibition of 1930 Finnish Modern Design sought to illustrate the history of Finnish contributions to 20th-century design. It featured 140 objects reflecting the variety and high quality production of Finnish applied arts, including glass, ceramics, furniture, metalwork, textiles, and costume. In the gallery, object displays showed the inextricable link between Finnish modern design and the nation’s broader socioeconomic, political, and cultural landscape. The exhibition also highlighted the architectural context for the formation of a distinctly Finnish aesthetic with works by Alvar Aalto and architects Yrjo Lindegren, Aarne Ervi, Viljo Revell, and Aulius Blomstedt.

On view from February 27–June 14, 1998, the exhibition was curated by Marianne Aav and Nina Stritzler-Levine. It was organized by Bard Graduate Center with the Museum of Art and Design, Helsinki.