A color photo of two brides holding hands, and mouths open as though yelling. One woman with a thought bubble that reads: “Not what I had / in mind!” They are standing on a table covered with silver and china. Across the poster, in pink: “Is it worth being / Boring / for a Blender?” Lower margin: “GAY MARRIAGE / You might as well be straight.” Upper left: “Poster sponsored / in part by / HX FOR HER / NEW YORK CITY”. Upper right: “ANOTHER PUBLIC ART PROJECT BROUGHT TO YOU BY / DAM! [DYKE ACTION MACHINE] / dam@echonyc.com.
Gays Against Gay Marriage
This provocative poster was designed in 1997, one year after the US Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act. Known simply as “DOMA,” the Act barred same-sex married couples from being recognized by federal law. The poster is the work of Dyke Action Machine!, a New York activist duo consisting of photographer Sue Schaffner and...
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The 1939 Golden Gate Exhibition Lives On at Cooper Hewitt Library
This 107-page catalog is one of the many treasures that can be found in Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library’s collection of world’s fairs materials. Produced on the occasion of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco by the San Francisco Bay Exposition Company, the catalog is unique in that it is entirely devoted...
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Has Anyone Seen Bertha?
This is one of those novelty wallpapers designed to put a smile on your face. The water theme clearly designates this as a bathroom paper, and what a way to start and end your day. The humor abounds, sometimes in-your-face obvious and other times more subtle, which is one of the signs of a good...
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Is There a Gothic Cottage in Your Future?
This charming gothic interior was the private study in the Cottage Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia, of Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicholas I. Born Frederica Louise Charlotte Wilhelmina of Prussia, Charlotte, as she was known, was promised in a political alliance to Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich in 1814. They married three years later and by 1825...
Printed textile, Raoul Dufy, 1913, France
Raoul Dufy: Painter as Textile Designer
Although best known as a painter, Raoul Dufy was also a skilled printer of woodcuts. In 1910, with the encouragement of fashion designer Paul Poiret, he began translating his woodcuts into fabric designs. His reputation quickly grew, and in 1912 he signed a contract with Lyons-based silk weaving company Bianchini Férier to produce printing plates...
Broad tapering cylindrical glass body, its deep wall carved and etched with a continuous pattern of swirled lines, their surfaces highlighted in black enamel.
An Endless Swirl of Plants That Never Die
Born and raised in a creative atmosphere dedicated to decorative arts, Suzanne Lalique (1892-1989) was encouraged by her father René, the well-known designer of jewelry and glassware, to participate in the family enterprise. From 1920 to 1930, a large part of the Lalique glass production was inspired by her watercolors, that reveal her passion for...
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Quiet Cubism
Collections of miscellaneous objects in pale blue and gray are grouped in floating clusters on a ballet-pink background. In the lower right-hand corner of the panel, a paper fan floats towards a pile of shapes that I choose to interpret as a pitcher, an upside-down lampshade, a vase of flowers, some lemons, a book with...
Man making a talley, war propaganda poster
One-Two Punch /Down and Out / More, More, More!
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said “Powerful enemies must be out-fought and out-produced”[1] and American people did just that during World War II. FDR’s sentiment became fact through the creation of the War Production Board (WPB). The WPB turned over private factories to assist in the war effort, ramping up production goals to higher levels than...
Textile, Junichi Arai, Japan, 1985
Lamé Plus Light: A Textile by Junichi Arai
Junichi Arai is indisputably one of the world’s foremost innovators in fabric and textile design. He was born in the city of Kiryu, Japan, an important center for textile production that boasts over 1,000 years of traditional silk weaving. As the sixth generation of a mill-owning family, Arai learned historical Japanese weaving techniques for obis...