A Commercial Artist with Ideals
For nearly twenty years between the two world wars, E. McKnight Kauffer, an American, was the most celebrated graphic designer in England. He was best known for his eye-catching posters, but his book covers and illustrations, graphic identities, carpets, stage sets, costumes, and ephemera were also among the most arresting of his era. Kauffer believed fervently that modern art should move beyond the walls of museums and galleries to infiltrate all elements of daily life.
Design Retrospective: Writing with Open Access
This article  was written by Jono Brandel, new media artist and team lead for Writing with Open Access. It is the first in a series of Design Retrospectives on the prototypes commissioned by Cooper Hewitt’s Interaction Lab as part of Activating Smithsonian Open Access in Spring of 2021.  Introduction It was a series of interviews...
Composite image of two photographs, both picturing an exhibition of geometric structures in a brown wooded room.
Cooper Hewitt + The Smithsonian Institution: Becoming the Nation’s Design Museum
On October 7, 1976, Cooper Hewitt opened, joining the Smithsonian and becoming the nation’s design museum. Learn how that came to be.
The Potential of Creative Commissioning: Learning from Activating Smithsonian Open Access
Activating Smithsonian Open Access (ASOA) was born from a conversation that took place in June of 2020, while much of the world was locked down. Millions of jobs evaporated overnight, and those working in the creative and gig economies watched incomes, projects, and years of hard-won programmatic gains in the arts and humanities vanish without...
Collage of six empty museum spaces meant to symbolize open possibilities for museum experience
OPEN CALL FOR WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS: Transforming Museum Experience with the Interaction Lab
Building on the work presented in Tools and Approaches for Transforming Museum Experience, Cooper Hewitt’s Interaction Lab will offer a workshop series this fall 2021 for two separate cohorts of 20 museum practitioners and leaders across visitor experience-related disciplines who are currently working on transformative museum experience projects.  The definition of a transformative museum experience...
Open spread of an illustrated book. On the left is a full-page black-and-white image of two elongated figures looking at a third figure that resembles a full moon. On the right is the book's title page. Two figures are embedded in intricate foliage. A rectangle with a blank background contains the title: "Salome: A Tragedy in one Act : Translated from the French of Oscar Wilde : Pictured by Aubrey Beardsley"
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...
A photograph of a blue building with four square wooden structures protruding. Each wooden structure has a large window on two sides. There are two doors into the building each framed by similar wooden structures.
14 Asian American National Design Award Winners to Know
Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Awards program honors innovation and impact in design. Since its inception in 2000, many Asian Americans have been recognized with a National Design Award. Here are 14 to know: Derek Lam 2019 Fashion Award Derek Lam is a leading designer of relaxed yet elevated American sportswear. His work is known for...
A photograph of two individuals working on a solar panel. The solar panel is seen from the side, dissecting the image from lower left to top right. The two individuals are behind and largely obscured by the panel. In the background is natural imagery of the Southwest of the United States.
Power Is in Our Hands: Native Renewables
Written by Wahleah Johns Access to electricity is a human right, essential to people’s health, security, and livelihoods. Of the 20,000 families in the United States without access to electricity, three-quarters live on the Navajo Nation. Despite their lands providing fossil fuels that have powered the West for 50 years, these families have been left...
An abstract representation of a digital network. White, glowing dots and lines swirl, forming a helix, into the center of the image, against a dark gray background.
Broken Systems: Designs for a Better World
Written by Tatiana Schlossberg To those of us who don’t design anything, it’s easy never to think about design at all. If the design is good, then we probably don’t even see it because it’s too intuitive or easy to use or we are too distracted by the elegance or beauty to imagine that a...