about

The Object of the Day blog is written by Cooper Hewitt’s curators, graduate fellows, and contributing researchers and scholars. Posts are published five times a week (Monday through Friday) and present research on an object from the museum’s collection. With over 210,00 objects spanning thirty centuries of decorative arts and design, Object of the Day explores the material culture of textiles, graphic design, furniture, products, architectural drawings, wallcoverings, and much more. You can also subscribe to our Object of the Day email for a daily dose of design delivered to your inbox.

Image features a bathroom wallpaper with red, green, blue, and gold fish swimming amongst gold seaweed and bubbles, all on a black ground. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this piece.
Swimming with Style
As your gaze gently sinks into the shimmering abyss of this composition, you notice a flurry of well-coordinated activity as fish flit across the inky black ground, with some moving so rapidly that all you catch is the golden gleam of their scales as they zip along. After a moment of being mesmerized by their...
Image features four horizontal rows of people and trains, rendered in black ink on paper
Spot the Difference: Steinberg Edition
Born in Romania in 1914, Saul Steinberg once described himself as “a writer who draws.”[1] Steinberg fled Europe in 1941, settling in New York City by 1942. While living in the United States, he traveled widely and observed the world around him in a highly whimsical style with an eye toward criticism and satire. Steinberg’s...
Image features brown metal unit housing electric motor, having on/off switch at top, circular projection at front with black cord below; pen-like metal "wand" holding cylindrical pink rubber eraser at end. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Presto! Erased in Seconds
The Illinois-based office supplies manufacturer Metal Specialties Manufacturing Company first released a line of “Presto” products in 1939. Originally the line only included pocket and desk-sized staplers, but the firm would eventually create a wider range of products such as this electric eraser. This relatively simple and nondescript device allowed the user to store the...
Image features a length of off-white cotton canvas, screen-printed with loosely drawn bunches of tulips, with dark olive outlines, light olive leaves and charcoal gray blossoms, highlighted in white pigment. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Tulip Scatter
Doris Doctorow was working for Harper’s Bazaar when she was sent on assignment to Mexico to photograph the fabric workshop of brothers Leslie and James Tillett. She soon fell in love with Leslie, cancelled her return home, and learned the craft of silk-screen printing. Their partnership in work and life lasted nearly fifty years until...
Image features a stylized floral design printed in muted colors of blue and green. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Falling into Flowers
Gently swirling clusters of flowers and their accompanying foliage weave across this delicately colored repeat. Soft blues and greens evoke freshly opened blossoms while the stormy gray background suggests a recent or impending shower. Curving between the main clusters are constellations of small white blooms that highlight the rest of the composition, adding a layer...
Image features a cat standing on two feet on top of a sleeping dog below a grainy image of Saturn against a black background. Haunting feline eyes appear in the background. The central image is surrounded by white curving, bird-like forms on either side. White and black text appears against a blue background, surrounding the central image. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Reflections on a Cosmic Cat
As the San Francisco rock scene grew in the 1960s, posters were commissioned by the concert promoter Bill Graham for shows at popular venues such as the Fillmore Auditorium. David Singer produced more posters for Graham than any other artist, designing 75 posters from 1969 to 1990.[1] Although he had an unusual background for a...
Image features Circular green radio with semi-circular station dial at top front above circular brown textile-covered speaker with three vertical metal rods as grille; three circular control knobs below speaker. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Radio in the Round
The cost and large size of early radios made them status objects for the home. Their housings were made of wood and often imitated cabinet furniture in traditional styles. But, by the early 1930s and the rise of Modernism, sophisticated consumers began to update their interiors, and furnishings such as radios followed suit. In 1930,...
Textile, Cairo, 2015; Produced by Knoll Textiles (United States); 38% recycled solution-dyed nylon, 32% rayon, 30% cotton; H x W: 330.2 × 144.5 cm (10 ft. 10 in. × 56 7/8 in.); Gift of Knoll Textiles; 2015-30-5
Cairo
When world-renowned architect David Adjaye was invited to curate an exhibition for the museum’s Selects series in 2015, he quickly chose to focus on the museum’s little-known collection of West African textiles, including works from Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Mali. Having devoted eleven years to an in-depth study of the architecture of the African...
Image shows abstract expressionist wallpaper design by Jean de Botton. Please scroll down for additional information on this piece
Artistic Expression on the Wall
Maja is a mid-century paper produced by a German manufacturer, designed by an American artist born in Greece but active in France and the USA. This is one of three papers in the museum collection by Jean de Botton, and while all his wallpaper designs are rather abstract this is the only one with no...