Author: Gail Davidson

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Image of drawings by IIonka Karasz.
Tabletop Geometry
Gail Davidson discusses modernist designer Ilonka Karasz's geometric iterations for tableware.
The New Architecture
Gail Davidson discusses Hugh Ferriss's process for crafting a 1920s skyscraper under strict zoning laws.
Cooper Hewitt Short Stories: American Drawings Story
Last month in Cooper Hewitt Short Stories, we explored a world of textiles encapsulated in a generous gift to Cooper Union by J.P. Morgan. In January’s short story, written by Gail Davidson, former Curator and Head of Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design at Cooper Hewitt, the work of three important American artists come together to...
Crossing The Line
This 2010 poster, designed by the French graphic designer Philippe Apeloig, advertises the annual interdisciplinary fall festival of the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) in New York City. Apeloig’s design employs the same fundamental typographic approach that he used in his 2006 poster, Vivo in Typo, whereby he manipulates the spacing of computer-generated punctuation to...
Having your vegetables and eating them too
The famous silver tureens that the eighteenth–century silversmith Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier designed for England’s Duke of Kingston may be the most celebrated objects of his career. They were etched in a double-page spread in Oeuvre de Juste-Aurele Meissonnier published by Gabriel Huquier around 1748. This volume is one of the rare books acquired by the Cooper...
A Typographic Stretch
Botta/Cucchi is a poster for an exhibition at the Museo Cantonale d’Arte in Lugano, Switzerland, about the collaborative project for the Santa Maria degli Angeli chapel by the architect Mario Botta and the painter Enzo Cucchi. The chapel, commissioned by Egidio Cattaneo and dedicated to his late wife, is on Mount Tamaro and is only...
Designing with brush strokes
Architect Rafael Viñoly still does hand sketches as well as beautiful watercolors for his projects. For the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia (1998–2001), Viñoly was tasked with providing a cultural complex: a hall for the Philadelphia Orchestra and a second performance space for multiple types of theatrical productions. The center was also to...
The Future of Television
This concept sketch for the famed Philco Predicta television (1958–60), an example of which is in the museum’s collection, stands out for its red tuner that recalls the dashboard of a 1950s automobile. The design is the work of Robert E. Doyle, a member of the Predicta design team that was led by Herbert Gosweiler...
A Woman Uncovered
Researching a work in the collection can lead a curator to some very interesting places other than libraries. I was fortunate to have been in Berlin on May 14, 2015 which was the anniversary of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s death in 1847. I had corresponded previously with Thomas Lackmann, a descendant of Fanny Hensel’s and board...