Author: Matthew Kennedy

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There’s Something About Salome
When Salome requests a severed head on a platter, be careful what you wish for. Or write. Or draw. In 1894, Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley—both considered enfants terribles of Victorian England for their provocative work and lifestyles—produced a printed edition of Wilde’s play Salome. Wilde’s psychological centralization on the character of Salome and Beardsley’s...
Poster for the Spike Lee film, ‘Do the Right Thing.’ Shows a bird’s-eye view of a blue street with a man standing cross-armed by the tail of a car on the left. At right, a man holds a pizza box. Printed in yellow, upper center, with children's feet on either side: It's the hottest day of the summer. / You can do nothing, / you can do something, / or you can... Printed larger in yellow, center: DO THE / RiGHT / THing. Rows composed of colored triangles appear between the lines of text. In light blue, directly to the right: BEd-Stuy. In white, below, written by a young girl with chalk: A Spike Lee Joint. A child-like drawing of a man with a gun and a cop car appear in the lower right. Film credits listed in white at the bottom of the poster. The rating information (R) and the Spectral Recording/Dolby Studio logo appear on the bottom left.
Movie Night! Seven Art Sims Posters for Spike Lee Films
Art Sims (American, born 1954) has designed graphics across entertainment media, but his most famous and prolific work is that for film posters. His collaboration with Academy Award–winning filmmaker Spike Lee (American, born 1957), in particular, has produced some of his most iconic designs. Sims was first drawn to Lee’s work after seeing Lee’s first...
A poster depicting a bluescale image of the head of a woman with a bouffant hairdo and an unrestrained shouting expression, as words advertising a theatrical production spiral from her mouth, contrasted against a bright yellow, solid background.
Black Theater: A Graphic Design Showcase
Graphic design serves a powerful role in establishing the visual identity of theatrical performance. Cooper Hewitt’s collection offers highlights of graphic design for the work of Black playwrights and composers. Narratives addressing riots and rage; exploring triumph, history, and oppression; or featuring funk, soul, and divas interact with typography, image, and space to tell a...
Image features a wallpaper panel showing yearbook portraits of teenage boys displayed in decorative oval frames surrounded by flowers on a bright rainbow-colored ground printed in fluorescent ink and black rayon flock. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Framing The Bullies
In celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, June Object of the Week posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection.  Bright-faced youths peer back at you from a vibrant web of floral foliage. But this wallpaper, titled Bullies, strikes a scornful tone. Multi-disciplinary artist Virgil Marti sourced the portraits seen in the wallpaper from his...
Image features a ceramic vase with a slender neck and bulbous base. The neck is smooth and gilded. The base has a prickly, fur-like texture and is light pink. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Surreal Provocateurs
In celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, June Object of the Week posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection.  Nature has a way of informing us—however we engage, we learn from its resilient processes. Nature also has a way of amusing, perplexing and delighting us with its complex and idiosyncratic forms. This edifying and...
Two streamlined red chairs against a white background.
Hero to Zero: A History of Plastics
Design scholar Penny Sparke traces the history of plastic since the nineteenth century and through modern design of the twentieth century—and notes how the material became one of the largest challenges facing the world's environment today.
Image features a small flat pin in the form of a woman's high-heeled shoe covered in red glitter. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Friends of Dorothy
In celebration of World Pride, June Object of the Day posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection. Bricks were thrown. Not yellow bricks, of the variety that Dorothy and her friends eased on down. But bricks. And garbage cans. And coins. And bottles. And rocks. All of this debris was airborne because it...
Image features a rectangular textile with a pattern in brown, rose, and blush. Against a rose background, a series of photographs are silkscreened overlapping each other and at an array of angles. The photographs are of children and street scenes in Cambodia. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Photographic Assemblage
In celebration of World Pride, June Object of the Day posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection. Clark Robertson moved to New York City, from Texas, in the late 1970s to establish a design and printing business, at which he started producing printed textiles for fashion and interior design use. A design titled...
Image features a faun reclining in the grass, seen from behind. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Canticle of Pan
In celebration of World Pride, June Object of the Day posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and designs in the collection. In a 1916 profile published in Vanity Fair, Paul Thévenaz was described as a painter and a dancer. The article also identified the Swiss-born double threat as the cult leader of a movement called Rhythmician, an...