Brooch in artform holder
The Secret Life Of Jewelry
Ever wonder what your jewelry does when you aren’t wearing it? This brooch by the British art jeweler and goldsmith Kevin Coates demonstrates Coates grappling with this question. When Coates creates a piece of jewelry he often also designs an elaborate and beautiful housing for it to live in when not being worn, allowing the...
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Ceramic Seashells at the Seashore
Against a bright seascape, the type that reminds one so strongly of a summer day at the beach that it is almost possible to smell the salty air, oversized and misshapen shells are scattered haphazardly.  They fill the foreground of Royal Copenhagen’s poster like beached whales: awkward, commanding, and strangely beautiful.  The storied Danish ceramics...
Textile, USA, 1949, designed by George Nelson (American, 1907–1986), manufactured by Schiffer Prints (a division of Mil-Arts Co.), founded 1945, Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund, 2015-19-3
Revitalizing An Industry
In the aftermath of World War II, a number of textile producers attempted to revitalize the industry by enlisting recognized personalities in art and architecture to design screen prints. “Perhaps the most outstanding name collection is Stimulus Fabrics produced by Schiffer Prints,” Alvin Lustig wrote in American Fabrics Magazine in 1951. “There was not a...
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The Writing is on the Wall
It is easy to see why Nitty Gritty would be such a hit with the “younger generation.” It’s fun, it’s different, something not seen before in wallpaper designs. Nitty Gritty is formatted in a graffiti-style, with all the words and slogans written as they might appear in phone booths or lockers. Sayings like Sock it...
1931-43-58
A Gift for Marie Antoinette
The initials “MA” in the central cartouche of this iron music stand belong to Marie Antoinette, who married the future Louis XVI of France in May of 1770. Winged putti fly over a musical score carrying banderoles inscribed with the surnames of Baroque French composers, including that of Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632–1687), whose opera Persée was...
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Sound Off!
Alvin Lustig was one of the most influential graphic designers of mid-20th century America, despite the unfortunate brevity of his career. Well-known for his designs of books, book jackets, and magazines, Lustig also designed several record jackets for albums of classical and concert band music. Four such albums bearing Lustig’s design are featured in Cooper Hewitt’s...
Pleated fan, Spain, late 19th century, paper leaf with chromolithograph, pasted with spangles, painted and gilded wood sticks, Bequest of Sarah Cooper Hewitt, 1931-6-148.
Fanning Desire?
Folding fans, or abanicos, were considered must-have accessories in nineteenth century Spain. For women, they served as important tools in courtship, the ‘language of the fan’ expressing everything from ‘come hither’ to ‘don’t bother’ to hopeful admirers. The imagery painted or printed on fans also carried important messages. Many celebrate national events, such as the...
@lana_day
July Designgrams
Enjoy our monthly round-up of some of our favorite moments captured by visitors. Make sure to tag your photos #cooperhewitt on Instagram to be featured in next month’s post! @melindaagarcia caught a shot of KAMAU keeping the crowd entertained at Cocktails at Cooper Hewitt. @thesavvymaker wore white to match with Melinda Baumeister’s jacket. @pearbear09 found...
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A Piece of Pax Romana
Don’t get these twisted: the Via Portico d’Ottavia is an area of ancient ruins in Rome, located in the center of the neighborhood designated as the Jewish ghetto in the sixteenth century. The Roman emperor Augustus, known for ushering in the Pax Romana period of relative peace and stability for the empire, originally built this colonnaded...