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.

Russel Wright: Creating American Lifestyle

On View: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 to Sunday, September 15, 2002

This first major retrospective of one of the country's greatest industrial designers explores the products and ideas developed and marketed by Russel Wright, inventor of a gracious, informal, and contemporary approach to the middle-class, mid-century American home.

Industrial Design, Russel Wright, 20th century, exhibitions, American, democratization, housewares, home furnishings, textiles, dinnerware, furniture design, ch:exhibition=35350109

Glass of the Avant-Garde: From Vienna Secession to Bauhaus

On View: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 to Sunday, March 31, 2002

More than 100 glass objects from the Torsten Brohan Collection of the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas, Madrid, are displayed in this exhibition. These objects were produced in Austria, the Czech Republic, and Germany between the turn of the century and the years between the two World Wars and include the work of the Bauhaus, Wilhelm Wagenweld, and Wiener Werkstätte.

Glass, 20th century, Europe, Bauhaus, Wiener Werkstätte, Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas, austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Wilhelm Wagenwold, ch:exhibition=35350107

Rooms with a View: Landscape and Wallpaper

On View: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 to Sunday, October 14, 2001

This exhibition features 90 selections of wallpaper—from the 18th to the 20th century—that document changing attitudes toward nature. The exhibition focuses on wallpaper production and use especially during the 19th century, when landscape in art was a metaphor for spiritual and national aspirations. Prior to 1840, wallpaper was block-printed and too costly for middle-class consumption. Machine printing made wallpaper accessible in the latter part of the 19th century, both in Europe and America.

wallpaper, wall coverings, nature, landscapes, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35350105

Aluminum by Design: Jewelry to Jets

On View: Tuesday, March 20, 2001 to Sunday, July 15, 2001

On view are more than 100 objects that trace aluminum's first appearance in precious and fine jewelry through early modernist uses in architecture and interiors to its present and envisioned role in aeronautics and other major industries. Highlights include an ornate table centerpiece presented to Emperor Napoleon III, a Paco Rabanne mini dress from 1968, and Claire Graham's 1997 chaise longue made of recycled soda cans.

On loan from the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and will travel. Sponsored by the Alcoa Foundation with Target.

aluminum, traveling exhibitions, jewelry, Architecture, interiors, aeronautics, fashion, furniture design

Masterpieces from the Vitra Design Museum: Furnishing the Modern Era

On View: Tuesday, October 10, 2000 to Sunday, February 11, 2001

This exhibition features 100 chairs designed between 1920 and 1980 from the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. These masterpieces highlight the concepts, styles, and materials central to furniture design in the modern era. Chairs in wood, metal, glass, and synthetics, are prominently featured. The exhibition is organized into six sections—Technology, Construction, Organic Design, Reduction, Decoration, and Manifesto—and includes works by Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, and many others.

furniture design, Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, exhibitions, 20th century, chairs

The Opulent Eye of Alexander Girard

On View: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 to Sunday, March 18, 2001

This exhibition explores the work of artist Alexander Girard (1907-1993), one of America's most innovative 20th century designers. Unique in postwar American design, Girard created textiles as well as graphics, interiors, and furnishings that introduced modern design to millions of Americans. 

Organized by Donald Albrecht, Curator of Special Projects.

Alexander Girard, 20th century, American, textiles, graphic design, interiors, furniture design

National Design Triennial: Design Culture Now

On View: Tuesday, March 7, 2000 to Sunday, August 6, 2000

The only initiative of its kind in the nation, the National Design Triennial series was created to regularly present critical overviews of key developments in American design.

national design triennial, Design Culture Now, exhibitions, design disciplines, ch:exhibition=35350093

The Work of Charles and Ray Eames: A Legacy of Invention

On View: Tuesday, October 12, 1999 to Sunday, January 9, 2000

This exhibition presents 500 objects designed by Charles and Ray Eames and produced by the Eames office between 1941 and 1984. The objects on view illustrate the spectrum of the Eames's design accomplishments and include furniture, fabrics, environments, and even movies.

Charles Eames, Ray Eames, furniture design, fabrics, 20th century, exhibitions

El Nuevo Mundo: The Landscape of Latino L.A.

On View: Friday, June 25, 1999 to Sunday, September 5, 1999

An exhibition of color photographs taken by Camilo José Vergara documents Latino Los Angeles. Public art is vibrant, front yards are showrooms, and homes are filled with paintings of the mountain vistas and farm animals from immigrants' rural roots. Images of the Virgin of Guadalupe are omnipresent. Taken over the course of more than two decades, these photographs chronicles the development and visual culture of this urban community.

photography, Camilo José Vergara, Los Angeles, exhibitions, Urbanism, cities, latinos

The Window Show

On View: Friday, May 14, 1999 to Friday, May 21, 1999

Fifteen participating designers chose objects from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s collections and National Design Library to decorate store windows for this off-site exhibition. 

permanent collection, National Design Library, fashion, exhibitions, Installations, New York City, retail