Exhibitions Archive

This archive includes past Cooper-Hewitt exhibitions dating back to 1975. Earlier exhibitions, including those set as early as the 1930s when the Museum was the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration, are being compiled and will be added at a future date. The Museum is currently closed for renovation, scheduled to re-open in 2014.

Past exhibitions can also be explored online through exhibition catalogs and related publications in our collection of historical publications.

Ornament in the Twentieth Century

On View: Tuesday, September 19, 1978 to Sunday, November 5, 1978

This exhibition of decorative and emblematic ornament features a diverse assortment of objects, including logos, table settings, Louis Vuitton luggage, Russel Wright armchairs, Lalique glass, Elsa Peretti lipstick, and the Beatles' Rolls Royce Phantom V touring limousine—given to the Museum by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Organized by Richard B. Oliver, Curator of Architecture and Design, with exhibition design by Robin Parkinson.

ornament, automobiles, furniture, logos, accessories, glassware, exhibitions

Crosscurrents: Neoclassical Drawings and Prints from the Cooper-Hewitt Collection

On View: Tuesday, September 19, 1978 to Sunday, November 5, 1978

This exhibition features a selection of 135 French, Italian, German, and English drawings and prints of late 18th- and 19th-century architecture, decorative arts, and ornament, accompanied by related objects.

Architecture, ornament, drawings, prints, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35349391

Form Follows Film

On View: Friday, September 15, 1978 to Saturday, October 7, 1978

This photographic exhibition presents a historical survey of stage sets from major film studios. 

film, photographs, stage sets, exhibitions

Looking at Los Angeles

On View: Tuesday, July 18, 1978 to Sunday, September 17, 1978

An exhibition of the city's design stories, from the Art Deco movement that flourished after World War I to the construction of the Los Angeles Freeway and the painted murals that decorate Mexican-American "barrios."

Los Angeles, 20th century, photographs, exhibitions

In Celebration of Water

On View: Tuesday, June 13, 1978 to Friday, September 1, 1978

This exhibition explores the use of water in architecture, landscapes, and decoration. Among the works on view are designs by Gwathmey Siegel Architects, Lawrence Halprin, Philip Johnson, Charles Moore, Robert Stern, Philip Stone, and the firm Peters, Clayberg and Caulfield. In the Museum's gardens, two water sculptures produce continuous rainbows.

Organized and by Richard B. Oliver, Curator of the Architecture and Design Departments, with the assistance of Nancy Ferguson.

water, Architecture, landscape architecture, decorative objects, sculpture, exhibitions

Western European Embroidery

On View: Tuesday, June 6, 1978 to Sunday, September 3, 1978

A history of the art and technique of the actual stitches employed in embroidery is displayed and explained in this exhibition of items from the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The earliest object dates from 1425, and subsequent examples follow the development of needlework to the present time. The greatest number of objects come from monasteries, churches and palaces, and include wall hangings, table covers, samplers, pillow covers, indoor caps (for both men and women), and men’s waistcoats.

embroidery, Europe, textiles, samplers, permanent collection, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35349857

Embroidery Through the Ages

On View: Tuesday, June 6, 1978 to Sunday, September 3, 1978

The artistry and craftsmanship of embroidery from the 14th century through the 20th century is on display in this exhibition, with a focus on Western Europe. Works range from liturgical vestments, wallhangings, and linens embroidered by nuns to garments by modern designers such as Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, and Cristóbal Balenciaga. 

Organized by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. 

embroidery, Europe, craftsmanship, handicrafts, needlework, fabrics, wallhangings, fashion, accessories, traveling exhibtions

Design Sales Gallery

On View: Saturday, April 1, 1978 to Sunday, April 30, 1978

Look Again

On View: Tuesday, March 21, 1978 to Monday, May 15, 1978

When the Hewitt sisters—Peter Cooper’s granddaughters—founded this museum in 1877, their hope was to make its design collections available for education and inspiration. This exhibition showcases nearly 500 new items from the permanent collection, including wallpaper, pottery, furniture, drawings, prints, jewelry, oil paintings, and decorative objects. 

Sponsored in part by the New York State Council on the Arts.

wallpaper, pottery, furniture, drawings, prints, jewelry, oil paintings, decorative objects, permanent collection, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35349835

Museum of Drawers

On View: Tuesday, March 21, 1978 to Sunday, May 7, 1978

Berne-based artist, Herbert Distel, curated a museum of modern art in the drawers of haberdasher's cabinet. Originally used for storing reels of sewing silk, the chest of drawers now holds artwork that Distel solicited from 500 artists, including Marcel Duchamp, Yves Klein, Joseph Beuys, Roy Lichtenstein, John Baldessari, Andy Warhol, John Cage, Oscar Koloschka, Eduardo Chillida, Sigmar Polke, Donald Judd, Alighiero Boetti, Sol Lewitt, David Hockney, Nam June Paik, Chuck Close, Hans Hollein, Alex Katz, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Josef Albers, Bruno Munari, Jasper Johns, Carl Andre, Cy Twombly, Hannah Höch, Robert Motherwell, Dieter Roth, Jim Dine, Pablo Picasso, Herbert Bayer, and Joan Miró. 

20th century, art, miniatures, traveling exhibitions