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.

Color Light Surface: Contemporary Fabrics

On View: Tuesday, April 3, 1990 to Sunday, September 23, 1990

An exhibition devoted to the fabrics of the 1980s. Metallics, pleating, and puckering feature among the 150 textiles on view.

textiles, textile design, textile printing, fabrics, wallcoverings, floor coverings, 1980s, exhibitions

Views of Rome: Drawings and Watercolors from the Collection of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

On View: Tuesday, August 8, 1989 to Sunday, October 29, 1989

Tour Rome as it was experienced by artists between the 16th and 19th centuries. This exhibition of drawings, watercolors, and illustrated books, by both prominent and lesser-known artists, captures the changing landscape of the city and its environs. Artists, draftsmen, and architects represented in the exhibition include Ferdinand Becker, Richard Wilson, Lady Elizabeth Susan Percy. Etienne Duperac, and Cornelis van Poelenburgh.

Thomas Ashby, Rome, drawings, watercolors, Vatican, National Design Library, traveling exhibitions

Polished Perfection: The Art of Turned-Wood Bowls, the Edward Jacobson Collection

On View: Tuesday, July 25, 1989 to Sunday, October 1, 1989

This exhibition features 84 works by 21 contemporary North American craftsmen and four early American settlers, all of whom work in turned-wood. The lathe has been used by craftsmen to hew blocks of wood into functional and decorative objects for thousands of years. In the 20th century, when mechanized mass-production replaced the hand lathe, the craftsmen who persisted in turning were able to more freely explore their own aesthetic. Works on view include those by Del Stubbs, Ed Moulthrop, James Prestini, Melvin Lindquist, and Ronald Kent, among others. 

wood, craftsmanship, hand-crafted, artisans, lathe, traveling exhibitions

L'Art de Vivre: Decorative Arts and Design in France 1789 - 1989

On View: Thursday, March 30, 1989 to Sunday, August 6, 1989

This salute to the bicentennial of the French Revolution features more than 500 examples of furniture, silver, glass, textiles, wallpaper, couture, and jewelry created by the great names of French design and manufacturing from the past two centuries. The high-quality craftsmanship is of works by René Lalique, Hermès, Frederic Bucheron, Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, Nikki de Saint-Phalle, Van Cleef & Arpels, and others is on view.

Training the Hand and Eye: American Drawings from the Cooper-Hewitt Collection

On View: Sunday, January 22, 1989 to Tuesday, March 7, 1989

Seventy-five sketches and preparatory drawings are on display by 34 leading American artists, including Winslow Homer, Frederic Church, Kenyon Cox, and Thomas Moran. These unfinished works often annotations and notes, which help provide insights into the artistic process. This exhibition features selections from the more than 7,000 American drawings in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum’s permanent collection.

drawings, American, Frederic Edwin Church, Winslow Homer, Thomas Moran, Kenyon Cox, permanent collection, traveling exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35349519

Purses, Pockets, Pouches

On View: Tuesday, December 6, 1988 to Sunday, March 5, 1989

More than 150 examples are on display in this exhibition of men’s and women’s bags and purses from four centuries of European and American design. These knitted, netted, beaded, appliqued, and embroidered examples were intended for holding a range of objects, including tobacco, combs, love letters, gifts, perfume, and, of course, coins.

purses, bags, pouches, accessories, Europe, America, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35349413

Courts and Colonies: the William and Mary Style in Holland, England, and America

On View: Tuesday, November 15, 1988 to Wednesday, February 15, 1989

A lavish, baroque celebration of the 300th anniversary of the accession to the English throne of the William III of Holland, and his first cousin, Queen Mary II of England. The objects on display document the communication and adaptation of 17th century styles across countries and continents. 

Holland, Netherlands, england, America, 17th century, furniture, textiles, ornament, decorative arts, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35349329

Erich Mendelsohn: Architectural Drawings

On View: Tuesday, October 18, 1988 to Sunday, January 8, 1989

Several hundred drawings and dozens of original photographs display architect Erich Mendelsohn’s important work in Germany before the rise of the Third Reich: the Einstein Tower (1920), in Potsdam, considered to be the epitome of Expressionist architecture; the Hat Factory (1921); the Schocken Department Store Building (1926) in Stuttgart, in 1926; and, Mendelsohn’s own home, Villa Rupenhorn (1928) which he and his family occupied briefly before fleeing to England due to growing antisemitism fomented by the ascension of the Nazi regime.

Erich Mendelsohn, Architecture, Germany, 20th century, modernism, expressionism, exhibitions

The Modern Dutch Poster: The First Fifty Years, 1890 - 1940

On View: Tuesday, October 4, 1988 to Sunday, January 8, 1989

Seventy-five posters by 50 artists survey Dutch poster design from 1890 through 1940. Dutch posters were generally smaller than their French counterparts, designed to be hung inside a shop rather than displayed outdoors and read from a distance. Featured artists include Th. H.A.A. Molkenboer, Theodorus Nieuwenhuis, Willy Sluiter, and Piet van der Hem.

Dutch, Holland, Netherlands, posters, graphic design, exhibitions

The Countess' Treasury: Gems & Curiosities from Burghley House

On View: Tuesday, September 6, 1988 to Sunday, November 27, 1988

Sixty opulent treasures are on view from Burghley House, in Lincolnshire, England—one of the most majestic estates of the Elizabethan era. This collection of 17th century Renaissance jewelry, pomanders, ewers, bowls, tankards, and tea cups displays a variety of decorative embellishments including rock crystal mounted in gold and silver gilt, garnet and agate set in precious metal, colorful enameling, and delicate filigree.

england, 17th century, jewelry, tea service, decorative objects, exhibitions