Author: Matthew Kennedy

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Image features a central woman in brown-ish black and white clerical habit holding a book in her left hand and a cross on a chain in her right. Her headpiece is heart-shaped around her face, connected to an elaborate, rough-like neckpiece that extends over her shoulders. The dress has puffy sleeves with a full, floor-length skirt. Feathery patches of white paint fill the background around the figure. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Costuming Beyond Errors
In celebration of Women’s History Month, March Object of the Day posts highlight women designers in the collection. Theoni V. Aldredge designed costumes for the stage and screen with a career spanning six decades. At the height of her career, thousands of her fashions graced Broadway stages.[1] Aldredge was driven. After graduating from the American...
Cooper Hewitt Short Stories: Cooper Union in Black & White
In last month’s Cooper Hewitt Short Story, wallcoverings curator Greg Herringshaw introduced different styles of wallcoverings collected by the Hewitt sisters that are now housed in Cooper Hewitt’s expansive collection. This month, Forrest Pelsue, publishing master’s fellow in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies at Parsons Paris, takes us on a journey to 1939...
Cooper Hewitt Short Stories: Spotlight on Theater
In last month’s Short Story, Ringwood Historian Sue Shutte cleverly drew parallels between the collections of Ringwood Manor and Cooper Hewitt, giving insight to the Hewitt family’s personal style. In this month’s short story—or more of a collection spotlight—we look at more passions of Sarah and Eleanor and how they emanate through Cooper Hewitt’s collection:...
Cooper Hewitt Short Stories: A Manor of Collecting
In last month’s Cooper Hewitt Short Story, Matthew Kennedy revisited the Ringwood Manor guest books, pulling out delightful images that spoke to the summer season at the Hewitt’s country estate. In this month’s segment, Ringwood Manor historian Sue Shutte explores Cooper Hewitt’s extensive online collection to find enticing parallels to those items found in the...
Cooper Hewitt Short Stories: Ringwood Guest Books Revisited
In last month’s Cooper Hewitt Short Story we delved into the expansive drawings collection of Italian artist and collector Giovanni Piancastelli. But now, on to summer… #beachreads Margery Masinter, Trustee, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Sue Shutte, Historian at Ringwood Manor Matthew Kennedy, Publishing Associate, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Two years ago, we wandered...
Hello, Dollies!
The most iconic costume from the musical Hello, Dolly! pairs an elaborate, feathered headdress with a beaded, crimson gown, glamorizing the brash comedic timing of the show’s star. But the plot of the musical originates in a location that requires much humbler attire: a feed merchant’s outpost in Yonkers, New York. As such, the young...
A Question About Two Turkeys
“Can you help us in identifying where our birds were made?”[1] This inquiry is one of numerous others regarding two fowl from a 1968 letter from Catherine Lynn Frangiamore, then an assistant in the Department of Decorative Arts (now Product Design and Decorative Arts) at Cooper Hewitt, to Lino Sandonnini, then director of the Museo...
A View of “A View from the Bridge”
And this view, regardless of perspective, intends to invite the viewer into a daunting realm of judgmental voyeurism . . . Set designer David Gallo’s drawing for the 1998 revival of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge was used to make adaptations to the theatrical set when the production transferred from the Roundabout Theatre...
Two white, stylized female figures and one black, stylized male figure on purple ground, with horizontally printed black and white sans-serif text
A Teetering Trio in a Pastel Void
Alvin Lustig designed numerous book covers for New Directions Publishing over the course of his prolific career, including several for Tennessee Williams’s plays. Lustig’s modernist designs, characterized by their dramatic simplicity, contrast with the voluptuous poetry and unapologetic melodrama of Williams’s writing. For this cover for A Streetcar Named Desire, Lustig choreographed a three-way dance...