Underground Modernist: E. McKnight Kauffer
September 10, 2021 to April 10, 2022

The largest-ever exhibition of works by graphic design pioneer E. McKnight Kauffer (American, 1890–1954) will trace the designer’s transformative role in integrating avant-garde style into modern life. Renowned in his lifetime as the “poster king,” Kauffer’s career encompassed all media as he relentlessly pursued innovation in the commercial arts. On view will be some 200 design objects, ranging from riveting posters promoting revolutions in transportation to book jackets and illustrations for the most influential publications of the time, as well as groundbreaking abstract designs for theatrical productions, carpets, film titles, and more.

The publication E. McKnight Kauffer: The Artist in Advertising—a 2021 Alice Award finalistis available at SHOP Cooper Hewitt.

Underground Modernist: E. McKnight Kauffer is made possible with support from the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery Endowment Fund and the Esme Usdan Exhibition Endowment Fund.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics
December 10, 2021 to August 14, 2022

What is design’s role in times of crisis? Communities and individuals come together to aid each other, push for change, and create new spaces, objects, and services. Epidemics—both in the past and in the present—have triggered the discovery of new ways to treat and prevent disease while exposing systemic gaps and failures.

This exhibition will feature the work of designers, artists, doctors, engineers, and neighbors who asked, “How can I help?” In response to crisis, they created medical devices, PPE, mutual aid, infographics, posters, and architecture. Their creative actions have included open-source collaboration, rapid-response prototyping, hacking, and activism. The exhibition is curated and designed by MASS Design Group with Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Architectural case studies and historical narratives will appear alongside creative responses to the current pandemic.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics is made possible with major support from Crystal and Chris Sacca. Generous support is also provided by Lisa Roberts and David Seltzer and Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.

Featured Image: Poster, Soaring to Success! Daily Herald—the Early Bird, 1919; Designed by E. McKnight Kauffer (American, 1890–1954); Lithograph; Published by Daily Herald; Printed by T. B. Lawrence Ltd.; Courtesy of William W. Crouse