Opening April 7

The first major museum exhibition to focus on American taste during the creative explosion of the 1920s, The Jazz Age will be a multi-media experience of more than 400 examples of interior design, industrial design, decorative art, jewelry, fashion, and architecture, as well as related music and film. Giving full expression to the decade’s diversity and dynamism, The Jazz Age will define the American spirit of the period.

During the 1920s, the influences that fueled design’s burst of innovation, exoticism, and modernity were manifold and flowed back and forth across the Atlantic. Jazz music, a uniquely American art form, also found a ready audience in Europe. An apt metaphor for the decade’s embrace of urbanity and experimentation, jazz captured the pulse and rich mixture of cultures and rhythms that brought a new beat to contemporary life.

The exhibition will be organized into the themes of Persistence of Traditional “Good Taste,” A New Look for Familiar Forms, Bending the Rules, A Smaller World, Abstraction and Reinvention, and Toward a Machine Age. Presented on two floors of the museum, The Jazz Age will highlight the dynamic changes in American taste and lifestyles that prompted an outpouring of design and heralded an exhilarating new era.

Members are invited to preview the exhibition at the opening party on April 6. Become a member today!

The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s is co-organized by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art.



Related exhibitions

Jeweled Splendors of the Art Deco era: The prince and princess Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection

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A focused installation of art deco luxury objects will be on view in the museum’s Teak Room and will feature more than 100 extraordinary design objects, including cigarette cases, compacts, timepieces, and vanity cases, created by Europe and America’s premier jewelry houses.
Installation view of World of Radio

The World of Radio

On view through September 24, 2017.
The World of Radio, a Depression-era, monumental batik mural, is the centerpiece of this installation of iconic radios, radio design drawings, and photographs from the early twentieth century through the present day. Find out more.

Programming and Partnerships for The Jazz Age

The Jazz Age will be accompanied by a stimulating roster of programming and exciting creative partnerships that will explore the exhibition’s many facets and include special events, performances, Design Talks, a walking tour of Harlem, and more.

Inside The Jazz Age: New Discoveries in What Made American Style in the 1920s
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
6:30–8:00 p.m.
Delve into The Jazz Age with curators Sarah D. Coffin and Emily M. Orr, and Stephen Harrison, curator of decorative art and design from the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Stepping Out: 1920s Fashion
Thursday, May 4, 2017
6:30–8:00 p.m.
A Design Talk on the revolutionary fashion trends that marked the era.

Tea & Talk:”The Jazz Age”
Monday, May 8, 2017
3–4:30 p.m.
Enjoy an afternoon tea with curators Sarah D. Coffin and Emily M. Orr, who will be in conversation with design historian Pauline Metcalf about the pioneering role of American women in the era’s new profession of interior design.

A Jazz Age Night in Harlem Walking Tour
Thursday, May 18, 2017
6–8:00 p.m.
Starting at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, historian John Reddick will lead attendees through the streets of Harlem, with stops at historic homes and Jazz Age landmarks. SOLD OUT! Join the wait list.


The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s is made possible by the generous support of Madeleine K. Rudin and Grant S. Johnson in memory of Jack Rudin.

Additional major support is provided by Amita and Purnendu Chatterjee and Helen and Edward Hintz. Funding is also provided by the August Heckscher Exhibition Fund, The Masinter Family Foundation, Shelby and Frederick Gans, Marlene Nathan Meyerson Family Foundation, Ehrenkranz Fund, Esme Usdan Exhibition Endowment Fund, Siegelson, New York, Cooper Hewitt Master’s Program Fund, Karen and Joe Levine, and The Felicia Fund.

Featured image: Textile, Tissu Simultané no. 46 (Simultaneous Fabric no. 46), 1924; Designed by Sonia Delaunay (French, b. Russia, 1885–1979); Printed silk; 46.5 x 65 cm (18 5/16 x 25 9/16 in.); Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Museum purchase through gift of Friedman Benda, Elaine Lustig Cohen, Ruth Kaufmann, Patricia Orlofsky and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund, 2012-2-1; Photo: © Smithsonian Institution

Mercury flying diagonally from upper right to lower left, with his arms extended, gathers air waves portrayed as three series of parallel lines gathered to a point.
Mercury’s Swift Flight
From the Object of the Day archives, a Hildreth Meière mural design for the Chicago World's Fair.
Two-tiered rectilinear form, the chromed, bent tubular metal frame with rectangular clear glass top surmounted by square clear glass shelf.
A Deskey Table
From the Object of the Day archives, the history of a Donald Deskey end table, an important example of the American modernist's tubular metal furniture.