Author: Julie Pastor

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Side view of a pair of light-skinned hands holding a white device, with a thick, flat bottom extending into a squat tube, between the index fingers of both hands
Monitoring the Body
Many individuals and families want to monitor their own health at home and in their communities. Trips to a clinic or hospital can be inconvenient and intimidating, leading to delayed treatment. Such visits also expose people to potential infection. Telehealth accelerated during the COVID-19 crisis. Tracking population data helped public health officials respond to the...
Photo of a light-skinned woman wearing a blue and white scrub set and white sneakers.
Personal Protective Equipment
Fighting disease with masks and protective clothing is an ancient practice. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) around the world. In spring 2020, PPE was especially scarce throughout the United States in nursing homes, prisons, and care facilities for people with disabilities. Individuals came together to create face coverings for neighbors...
A medium-skinned figure lies with eyes closed on a hospital bed underneath a box-shaped negative pressure air ventilator which is opaque with rectangular transparent planes revealing the chest and side
Assisted Breathing
Most modern ventilators actively force air into the lungs. In contrast, several recent devices change the air pressure around the body to make the chest expand and contract passively. This gentler form of ventilation is more like natural breathing. These new devices are reviving the principle of the iron lung, which saved thousands of lives...
Image features a design drawing for a retail kiosk, consisting of a red platform with wheels supporting a black pyramid surmounted by a rectangle with a photograph of fashion designer Willi Smith in profile. A rectangular, black and white banner, proclaiming “WilliWear/WilliSmith” is on a pole at the top. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Radical Retail
In celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, June Object of the Week posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection.  In 1987, artist and designer Dan Friedman was commissioned by his friends and collaborators Willi Smith and Laurie Mallet to design the interior of a new Paris retail store for their clothing brand WilliWear. In...
Cooper Hewitt Short Stories: Designs for Jewelry
In last month’s Cooper Hewitt Short Story, we roamed the halls of the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration in 1939, exploring past and present methods of collection display. This month, Julie Pastor, curatorial assistant at Cooper Hewitt, lavishes us with drawings of jewelry, many collected by the Hewitt Sisters, from the holdings...
The Gates
Pumpkin-orange! Motion! These are just a few words that come to mind to describe this collage by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude. This bright, dynamic work presents a plan and rendering of The Gates, a public art installation that filled the winding walking paths of New York’s Central Park with 7,503 rectangular structures draped with flame-colored...
Fleeting Scenes
Stage designs occupy a unique place among Cooper Hewitt’s diverse holdings of works on paper. Unlike architectural fantasies or unrealized buildings, the intentional ephemerality of theater designs means that set designs, photographs, and models are often the only artifacts that remain to document these temporary spaces. The museum’s collection of stage designs spans the 17th...
Okay, Bye
Graphic designer and visual artist Geoff McFetridge created this striking poster in 2015 to advertise the play “Okay, Bye” performed by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois. As with many of McFetridge’s designs, the poster uses bold colors and simple forms to communicate a visual riddle. Two pairs of black shoes distinguish the owners...
Rotherhithe
This print by James Abbott McNeill Whistler is part of a series of images the artist produced depicting the East London neighborhoods of Rotherhithe and Wapping in 1859–60. While English painters had traditionally avoided portraying these industrial districts of the city throughout the nineteenth century, Whistler’s Thames series takes for subject the city’s poorest workers...