Master craftsmanship, luxurious materials, and sensuous forms are highlighted in an exhibition of objects designed to amplify the pleasure of their use. Design disguises what we wish to remain private, tempts us with luxuries large and small, feeds sensuous appetites, and—should we envy someone else’s possessions—eases our discontent with clever imitations. Pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth—the seven deadly sins—find irresistible outlet in these objects chosen from Cooper Hewitt’s collection.

 

highlights

Shaken, Not Stirred
Though not directly connected to the Memphis Group, a collective of young designers based in Milan during the 1980s, this Memphis cocktail glass suggests a similar postmodernist approach to design. Postmodernism rejects the severe aesthetic and sweeping and universal claims of modernism in favor of “complex and often contradictory layers of meaning.”[1] The playful design...
Mourning the Memory of Ill-Gotten Gains
This reliquary vase, created by Matt Nolen, is featured in the exhibition, The Virtue in Vice, currently on view at Cooper Hewitt. The vase was selected as a visual interpretation of greed, here defined as the acquisition of large sums of money, universally recognized as the hallmark of avarice. Though tongue-in-cheek, Nolen’s reliquary pointedly illustrates...
Bills, Bills, Bills
For all you big spenders out there, money might not grow on trees but there was a time when you could head over to your local wallpaper store and purchase some large bills. Humorously titled Alimony this design is composed of over scaled United States currency in denominations of one, two, five, ten, and twenty...