Object of the Day

Discover a different object from the Museum’s collection every day of the week!

Museum curators, conservators, and educators, as well as design enthusiasts like our teen Design Scholars, docents, and Master’s students, are sharing their favorite objects from Cooper-Hewitt’s incredible collection.

Many of these objects will be featured in the expanded collection galleries when Cooper-Hewitt reopens in 2014. Until then, “Object of the Day” is your uniquely-curated corner of the Museum!

Subscribe to Cooper-Hewitt's Object of the Day by Email

Good Vibrations

Posted by Caitlin Condell, on Tuesday January 29, 2013

Stare into the electric blue shades of this woman’s sunglasses and what do you see?  Even if you know what you are looking for, the blue letterforms come together to form coherent words only with sustained visual focus.  If you were to advertise a concert that you wanted people to come to, would you make it this difficult for your audience to find out about it?  Or could it be that the designer had something else in mind?

Victor Moscoso, San Francisco, The Chambers Brothers, Josef Albers, Herbert Matter, Yale University, Cooper Union, color theory, New York, poster, lithography, Neon Rose, Wes Wilson, Stanley Mouse, Rick Griffin, typography, graphic design

Wide-eyed Printmaking

Posted by Caitlin Condell, on Monday January 28, 2013

Beginning in the late 19th century, the medium of printmaking played an integral role in the creation of modern Mexican art, a tradition that can be traced back to the work of, among others, José Guadalupe Posada.  But it was in the post-revolutionary period of the early 20th century that large groups of Mexican artists, often with the support of the government, began using printmaking as a means of expression that allowed for large-scale dissemination.

Francisco Dosamantes, Mexico, printmaking, lithography, posters, Taller de Gráfica Popular, José Guadalupe Posada, Emilio Amero

A Mantle Fragment

Posted by Edna Ritzenberg, on Sunday January 27, 2013

Moving to a new home includes a trip to the nearest library to read all about this new location. Next, after finding a great librarian, is being lucky enough to find a neighbor who becomes a soul mate. My new neighbor in Woodmere, New York shared my love and enthusiasm for archeology and anthropology, an interest I have had ever since my student days in South Africa when I visited the caves at Sterkfontein, outside of Johannesburg.

Peru, textile, mantle

Living Modern

Posted by Marilyn F. Friedman, on Saturday January 26, 2013

In 1939, the pioneering industrial designer Donald Deskey, was asked to participate in the Contemporary Industrial Arts Exhibition to be held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in early 1940.  For his project, he designed a prefabricated weekend cabin, called “Sportshack,” depicted in this air-brush rendering.

Donald Deskey, Industrial Design, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Aklo glass, Libbey Owns Ford, prefabrication, New York World's Fair 1940

Building a Shoe

Posted by Allison Grimes, on Friday January 25, 2013

Inventor Tinker Hatfield is responsible for the original design concepts of Air Jordan sneakers, one of the most widely recognized and highly coveted products from the 1990s. The jagged line of color on the edge of the sole that became a trademark; the revolutionary “Air” bubble design, a small plastic window in the sole of the shoe which allowed you to see the cushioning system inside, are all ideas that came from one man who seems to know a little more about building than just shoe design.

Shoe, sneaker, Tinker Hatfield, nike, Architecture, drawing

Corporate Calico: Angelo Testa’s Fabric for IBM

Posted by Ellen Lupton, on Thursday January 24, 2013

When IBM premiered its boxy, geometric logotype in 1956, designed by Paul Rand, the idea of a coordinated corporate identity system was just taking off. Indeed, Rand’s logo design set the mark for a new standard of graphic communication in business. A corporate identity was intended to be more than a logo, however: it was conceived as a broader program encompassing signage, letterheads, packaging, publications, and more.

IBM, Angelo Testa, branding, logos, Paul Rand, William Golden, CBS

Guerilla Feminism

Posted by Alex C-M Kelly, on Wednesday January 23, 2013

Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum? is a poster designed by the Guerrilla Girls - a radical feminist collective – in order to draw attention to rampant discrimination against women artists in the curatorial collections of major museums. Legendary for their guerrilla tactics, gorilla masks and take-no-prisoners attitude, the Guerrilla Girls name names and point fingers with no apologies.

Guerrila Girls, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, poster, graphic design, Jean-August-Dominique Ingres, collage

Who is the Man Behind the Design?

Posted by Stacey Leonard, on Tuesday January 22, 2013

There is—literally—a man behind the design of the post office in Pieter Brattinga’s (1931-2004) De Man Achter de Vormgeving van de P.T.T. This poster is for a 1960 exhibition by the Dutch postal service, the PTT (then the Staatsbedrijf der Posterijen, Telegrafie en Telefonie; now the Koninklijke PTT Nederland). The PTT, founded in the nineteenth century, has promoted contemporary art since the 1920s through stamp designs and by sponsoring exhibitions.

Pieter Brattinga, Dutch graphic design, offset lithography, poster, graphic design, layering, Koninklijke PTT Nederland, Netherlands
De Man Achter de Vormgeving van de P.T.T. Pieter Brattinga

Meet Monsieur Jacquard

Posted by Adrienne Meyer, on Monday January 21, 2013

One of the first objects to enthrall me in the Cooper-Hewitt collection was a small double portrait which I casually dismissed as “just another engraving.” When I learned that this meticulously detailed image of French inventor Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752-1834) and the machine he created was, remarkably, a woven piece of fabric…I was hooked. It was Jacquard himself who developed the technology used to weave the portrait: his eponymous loom, patented in 1805, was the world’s first automated machine for weaving intricate images into silk.

Joseph-Marie Jacquard, jacquard weaving, Michel-Marie Carquillat

Waste Not

Posted by Matilda McQuaid, on Sunday January 20, 2013

Resourcefulness has been a key component of Japanese life for centuries, and in design, one sees this most dramatically with materials and objects being repurposed, recycled, or reused.  The Japanese textile company, Nuno, founded in 1984, is constantly striving to integrate this ecological approach while continuing to create some of the most technologically innovative and beautiful contemporary textiles anywhere in the world.

Nuno, textile, silk, kibiso, Reiko Sudo