Mr. Pergolesi’s Curious Things: Ornament in 18th-Century Britain
On View October 1, 2022 through january 22, 2023
This exhibition will showcase fanciful drawings and prints by Michel Angelo Pergolesi (d. 1801), an Italian-born painter, printmaker, and ornament designer who moved to London in ca. 1760 to embellish homes built by Robert Adam, the influential Neoclassical architect. Brilliantly hued watercolors from Cooper Hewitt’s collection highlight Pergolesi’s skill in transforming ancient relics into lighthearted decorative motifs. Rarely-seen drawings will be paired with Pergolesi’s related ink sketches, collages, and etchings from The Morgan Library & Museum—offering viewers an opportunity to examine, for the first time, the artist’s delightfully idiosyncratic design process. Examples of antique and antique-inspired decorative arts capture the period’s passion for the ancient world. With heightened awareness for decoration, visitors will be encouraged to consider the dense Neoclassical ornament found throughout the museum’s historic Carnegie Mansion and New York City.
Mr. Pergolesi’s Curious Things: Ornament in 18th-Century Britain is made possible with generous support from the Marks Family Foundation Endowment Fund.
Hector Guimard: How Paris Got Its Curves
On View November 17, 2022 through May 21, 2023
Co-organized by Cooper Hewitt and the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, Chicago, this exhibition invites a new understanding of France’s most famous Art Nouveau architect, Hector Guimard (1867-1942). Guimard is perhaps best known for his iconic Paris Métro entrances and private residences like Castel Béranger. Their ornate design based in the repeated use of organically curved, undulating lines anchored Guimard’s efforts to create an eponymous brand, “Le Style Guimard.” Lesser known are his more functionalist and pared-down designs for several standardized housing projects from the 1920s emphasizing his political engagement and commitment to the collective social good. Though seemingly opposite in appearance, these later projects were always critical components of the “Style Guimard.” By providing urban and historical context for the full range of Guimard’s output—realized and unrealized—this exhibition aims to present a more nuanced view of the “Style Guimard,” emphasizing Guimard’s working process and his strategies to market it.
Hector Guimard: How Paris Got Its Curves is made possible with major support from Denise Littlefield Sobel.
Generous support is provided by The Lemberg Foundation and Marilyn F. Friedman. Additional support is provided by The Felicia Fund and Margery F. Masinter.
Deconstructing Power: W. E. B. Du Bois at the 1900 World’s Fair
on view December 9, 2022 through May 29, 2023
The 1900 Paris World’s Fair trumpeted the possibilities of technological, aesthetic, social, and economic advancement to a global audience. The groundbreaking series of data visualizations W. E. B. Du Bois and his students at Atlanta University made for the installation, titled the “American Negro Exhibit,” seized upon the narrative of progress projected by the fair to claim a place for Black Americans. These diagrams celebrated the social and economic uplift achieved by Black Americans since emancipation while critiquing the effects of institutionalized racism.
This exhibition highlights these significant data visualizations, on loan from the Library of Congress, and, for the first time, will bring them into dialogue with the manufacturers and decorative arts also on display at the fair. Through thematic groupings, the exhibition calls attention to how the progressive image of the fair was inequitable—reserved for the predominantly white, European artists, manufacturers, and audiences—and concealed the power mechanisms of nationalism and imperialism that drove this spectacle of progress.
Deconstructing Power: W. E. B. Du Bois at the 1900 World’s Fair is made possible with major support from Denise Littlefield Sobel. Additional support is provided by The Felicia Fund.
Featured Image: Line drawing of the Carnegie Mansion