Author: Julie Pastor

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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...
Optical Amusements
While fidget spinners are the latest trend in handheld amusements, spinning phenakistiscope discs such as the example shown here charmed 19th-century audiences. These discs were the first widespread devices that created an illusion of fluid motion. Before cinematography, adults and children alike were captivated by objects that combined art and optical illusion, and much of...
A Modern Identity
This 1947 print by graphic designer Alvin Lustig presents an early logo design for the Hollywood animation production studio United Productions of America (UPA), founded in 1943 and primarily active through 1960. The graphic identity’s bold black circle with its vertical brown band embraces a simple and modern approach to portraying a classic film reel,...
Dream Car
From the Object of the Day archives, a blog post on the concept cars designed by Pete Wozena for General Motors.
Visual Space in Music
Though this striking drawing may at first seem to present a colorful abstract fantasy, the design meticulously translates 78 measures of the 1870 music drama Die Walküre into a new complex visual form. Before creating this ornamental design, John De Cesare worked very successfully as an architectural sculptor. He provided sculptural decoration for some of...