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.

Design for Life: A Centennial Celebration

On View: Tuesday, September 30, 1997 to Sunday, January 4, 1998

This exhibition features works designed for daily life, and is comprised of selections from the Museum's permanent collection, chosen by the graphic designer, Stephen Doyle, and the architect, Leslie Gail. The diverse objects include an Eames chair, a red and white Soviet chess set, and a toothbrush. 

Architecture, Industrial Design, textiles, wallpaper, drawings, furniture, jewelry, Stephen Doyle, Leslie Gail, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35350279

Do-it-Yourself Architecture for the Great Outdoors

On View: Tuesday, June 24, 1997 to Sunday, October 19, 1997

Ten commercially-available tents are on display, featuring space-age materials combined with modern techniques and technologies.

tents, Industrial Design, Architecture, portable, shelter, exhibitions

The Jewelry of Tone Vigeland

On View: Tuesday, June 17, 1997 to Sunday, August 24, 1997

Norwegian jeweler, Tone Vigeland, transforms silver, steel, gold and other heavy metals into jewelry that is sculptural, light, and graceful. This exhibition features jewelry created over the past 40 years, including earrings, bracelets, necklaces, metal-mesh hats, shoulder pieces, and long mesh chains.

jewelry, Tone Vigeland, Norway, 20th century, traveling exhibitions

Help Design Frederick Douglass Circle

On View: Wednesday, April 30, 1997 to Monday, June 23, 1997

Henry Dreyfuss Directing Design: The Industrial Designer and His Work, 1929 - 1972

On View: Tuesday, March 18, 1997 to Sunday, August 17, 1997

This retrospective of industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss features drawings, models, prototypes, and finished products. His designs include well-known classics such as the standard desk-style rotary telephone, the "Big Ben" alarm clock, the Polaroid Automatic 100 camera, and the Honeywell round thermostat. Dreyfuss was also responsible for the New York Central Railroad's streamlined "Mercury" train, ergonomic John Deere tractors, washing machines for Sears, and theatrical sets for plays such as The Last Mile. 

Henry Dreyfuss, Industrial Design, 20th century, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35350863

Object Lessons, 43rd Annual Winter Antiques Show

On View: Thursday, January 16, 1997 to Sunday, January 26, 1997

Design on the Street: Mixing Messages in Public Space

On View: Thursday, October 3, 1996 to Saturday, November 23, 1996

A large collage of posters on the theme of "the street" complements the current exhibition, Mixing Messages:  Graphic Design in Contemporary Culture, now showing at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

graphic design, collage

Mixing Messages: Graphic Design in Contemporary Culture

On View: Tuesday, September 17, 1996 to Sunday, February 16, 1997

This exhibition presents recent trends in graphic design. Posters, signs, advertisements, zines, logos, typefaces, shopping bags, and corporate publications are among the works on display. Featured designers include Charles S. Anderson, Art Chantry, Stephen Doyle, Edward Fella, Tobias Frere-Jones, Dan Friedman, April Greiman, Jonathan Hoefler, Tibor Kalman, Katherine McCoy, and Paula Scher.

graphic design, 20th century, exhibitions

The Avant-Garde Letterhead

On View: Wednesday, March 13, 1996 to Wednesday, May 8, 1996

An exhibition of modernist letterhead and ephemera from the collection of Elaine Lustig Cohen. The 170 examples on display represent art movements such as Italian Futurism, De Stijl, Dada, and the Bauhaus, and include works by Kurt Schwitters, Herbert Bayer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, El Lissitsky, Theo van Doesburg, F. T. Marinetti, and Le Corbusier.

graphic design, letterhead, modernism, Bauhaus, futurism, Dada, De Stijl, Ellen Lupton, Elaine Lustig Cohen, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35349911

Six Bridges: The Making of the New York Megalopolis

On View: Thursday, January 25, 1996 to Friday, April 19, 1996

Between 1925 and 1965, New York City became a world center for commerce, finance and culture. This exhibition of film clips, photographs, drawings, and maps, documents the six bridges instrumental in defining the metropolis: George Washington, Tri-borough, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs Neck, Verrazano-Narrows, and Bayonne. These bridges are the legacy of Swiss-born engineer, Othmar Ammann, widely considered the greatest bridge designer of the 20th century.

engineering, bridges, New York City, 20th century, exhibitions

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