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.

What Could Have Been: Unbuilt Architecture of the 80s

On View: Tuesday, July 19, 1988 to Sunday, October 16, 1988

An exhibition of 30 unrealized architectural projects. The models and drawings on display include proposals for civic projects and large-scale commercial buildings that would have altered the landscapes of major cities. Alice Aycock, Steven Holl, Philip Johnson, Frank Gehry, and Antoine Predock are among the featured architects.

Architecture, architectural drawings, models, 1980s, 20th century, exhibitions

Annual Reports

On View: Tuesday, July 5, 1988 to Sunday, September 25, 1988

An exhibition of the history of annual reports, with an eye to graphic design and printing technology. More than 250 examples are on display, and range from the minutes of a mid 17th century British textile trading firm to contemporary annual reports replete with photography. Benjamin Franklin, Milton Glaser, and Robert Miles Runyan are among the featured printers, designers, and illustrators. 

annual reports, graphic design, corporate design, ephemera, printing, exhibitions

Ceramics of the Weimar Republic, 1919–1933

On View: Tuesday, June 14, 1988 to Sunday, August 28, 1988

An exhibition of more than 100 brightly-colored ceramics from the Weimar Republic. After World War I, higher production rates and lower costs brought these bold new designs into every German home. Works by manufacturers Villeroy & Boch, Christian Carsten, Lehmann & Sohn, Reinhold & Company, and Julius Paul & Sohn are on display.

Germany, Weimar, ceramics, 20th century, traveling exhibitions

Paris Opera on Stage: Designs, Costumes, Jewels

On View: Tuesday, June 7, 1988 to Sunday, September 25, 1988

This exhibition provides an up-close look at costumes, jewelry, and related drawings from the collection of the Paris Opera. The detailed costumes on display date from the era of Louis XIV to the present day, and feature the work of artists and designers such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger, and Christian Lacroix. Also on view are fifty pieces of stage jewelry that date from the 19th century, including diadems, bejeweled collars, armbands, and necklaces. 

opera, France, costumes, jewelry, drawings, Paris Opera, Louis XIV, exhibitions

The Outdoor Chair

On View: Tuesday, May 24, 1988 to Sunday, September 18, 1988

The 30 chairs on display in the garden of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum are the creation of thirty artists, architects, and furniture designers from the San Francisco area, who were invited to explore the theme of outdoor seating. These sculptural seats are made from a variety of materials, including steel, wire, mesh, aluminum, galvanized hardware, glass crates, and tree branches. Visitors are encouraged to sit on the exhibits!

outdoor, furniture, seating, chairs, exhibitions

The Art that is Life: The Arts & Crafts Movement in America, 1875-1920

On View: Tuesday, April 5, 1988 to Sunday, June 26, 1988

This exhibition explores the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement on American life at the turn-of-the-century. The movement's philosophy is represented through the craftsmanship of stained glass, silver, textiles, ceramics, furniture, architectural drawings, costumes, jewelry, embroidery, and illustrated books. Works of John LaFarge, Gustav Stickley, Charles Sumner and Henry Mather Greene, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Arthur and Lucia Mathews, and Frank Lloyd Wright are on view.

Arts and Crafts, 19th century, 20th century, craftsmanship, stained glass, silver, textiles, ceramics, furniture, architectural drawings, costumes, jewelry, embroidery, books, John LaFarge, Gustav Stickley, Charles Sumner Greene, Henry Mather Greene, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Arthur and Lucia Mathews, Frank Lloyd Wright, traveling exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35350143

The Triumph of Simplicity: 350 Years of Swedish Silver

On View: Tuesday, March 1, 1988 to Sunday, June 5, 1988

The exhibition was organized by the National Museum in Stockholm and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in celebration of the 350th anniversary of the first Swedish settlement in North America. The eighty examples of Swedish handmade silver on display date from the 16th century to the present and include tea services, vases, and tableware.

Sweden, silver, tea service, decorative objects, tableware, exhibitions

Versailles: The View from Sweden

On View: Tuesday, February 23, 1988 to Sunday, May 15, 1988

An exhibition of 110 French architectural drawings on loan from Stockholm's National Museum, Royal Palace, and Vasa Museum. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Swedish architects Nicodemus Tessin (1654-1728), David Cronström (1655-1719), and Carl Gustaf Tessin (1695-1770), assiduously collected original studies for the gardens and buildings of Versailles during trips to France. 

Sweden, France, Architecture, architectural drawings, exhibitions

Vienna/New York: The Work of Joseph Urban

On View: Tuesday, November 17, 1987 to Wednesday, March 16, 1988

This retrospective of the Austian-born architect, Joseph Urban, shows the breadth of his work through drawings, photographs, stage set models, and furniture designs. In addition to architectural projects such as the New School for Social Research building and the Hearst Corporation building, both in Manhattan, Urban was commissioned to design many theatrical productions including a dozen Ziegfeld Follies and more than 50 productions for the Metropolitan Opera Company.

Architecture, architectural drawings, theatrical design, furniture design, Joseph Urban, New York City, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35349349

Color by the Yard: Printed Fabrics from 1760 - 1860

On View: Tuesday, November 3, 1987 to Sunday, March 13, 1988

This exhibition explores the development of printed cotton textiles and weaving technology. Two hundred objects are on display, including textiles and original wood blocks, printers's sample books, and costumes made of printed fabrics.  

ch:exhibition=35349321, textile printing, 18th century, 19th century, weaving