View of gallery wall painted blue with large circular opening, flanked on either side by vertical posters and visitors looking at artwork. Circular opening provides sightline to other parts of the exhibition and more visitors within the museum.
Underground Modernist: E. McKnight Kauffer
Previously On View: Friday, September 10, 2021 to Sunday, April 10, 2022

Hailed in his lifetime as “the poster king,” E. McKnight Kauffer (American, 1890–1954) believed that the street was an art gallery for the people. While living in England between 1914 and 1940, Kauffer produced radical posters for advertising that introduced modernism to the public. He experimented in provocative ways with line, form, space, and color to promote services and products. ...

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A black ink outline drawing with shaded grey washes on off-white paper depicting the early 20th century, neo-Georgian style, sprawling mansion that houses the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, viewed from below as it is almost entirely submerged in turbulent, surging waves, and engulfed by dark, storm clouds.
Jon Gray of Ghetto Gastro Selects
Previously On View: Thursday, July 1, 2021 to Sunday, February 13, 2022

Jon Gray of Ghetto Gastro Selects is the 19th installation in the exhibition series that invites designers, artists, architects, and public figures to explore and interpret Cooper Hewitt’s collection of more than 215,000 objects. Cofounder of the creative collective and cooking advocacy group Ghetto Gastro, Jon Gray works at the intersection of food, culture, and...

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The Modernist French Garden: Designs by the Vera Brothers
Previously On View: Thursday, June 10, 2021 to Sunday, January 2, 2022

In the early 20th century, French brothers André and Paul Vera sought to develop a new style of gardens, one that paired a modern geometric order with elements of prized 17th-century landscape traditions. This exhibition will unite over 20 of the brothers’ striking Art Deco drawings for gardens with their 1912 published treatise Le nouveau jardin (The New Garden).

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A watercolor and ink image of large-scale florals, in yellow, orange, red, and pink by Zuzek. The flowers are delicately outlined in black pen, and against a black background.
Suzie Zuzek for Lilly Pulitzer: The Prints That Made the Fashion Brand
Previously On View: Thursday, June 10, 2021 to Sunday, January 2, 2022

When socialite-turned-designer Lilly Pulitzer’s simple shift dresses hit the fashion scene in the early 1960s, their eye-catching, whimsical prints made them instantly recognizable. Yet few people know that most of those prints were designed by Key West artist Suzie Zuzek (Agnes Helen Zuzek de Poo, American, 1920–2011). Zuzek was a staff designer for Key West Hand Print Fabrics, where Pulitzer ...

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A WilliWear showroom. In an urban / industrial gray warehouse space, garments are suspended not from clothing racks but from chain link fence that lines the wall. The garments are simple blouses and pants. In the background, two models, one woman and one man, look at each other like they're sizing each other up
Willi Smith: Street Couture
Previously On View: Friday, March 13, 2020 to Sunday, October 24, 2021

During his twenty-year career Willi Smith (1948–1987) united fashion and American culture, marrying affordable, adaptable basics with avant-garde performance, film, art, and design. Smith hoped to solve what he called “the problem of getting dressed,” or the lack of control fashion afforded the everyday person, by using clothing as a tool for the liberation of...

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A glamorous model with a medium skin tone sashays in a long scarlet red gown. Her hair is wrapped in silks in cheetah print and jewel tones.
Contemporary Muslim Fashions
Previously On View: Friday, February 28, 2020 to Sunday, July 11, 2021

Contemporary Muslim Fashions is the first major museum exhibition to explore the rise of the modest fashion industry. Modest fashion refers to garments that are both highly fashionable and provide sufficient body cover to address cultural concerns for modesty. Many Muslim women and men dress modestly, in accordance with their faith, but individual and collective interpretations of modesty vary widely.

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Ribbon-like folds of black and white cubes overlaid with colorful cube ribbons that say "Olivetti" and "Divisumma" and have digits and plus, minus, division, equals sighns
Herbert Bayer: Bauhaus Master
Previously On View: Saturday, November 16, 2019 to Sunday, April 26, 2020

Coinciding with the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, this exhibition presents rare works by the groundbreaking graphic designer Herbert Bayer (1900–1985). As a student and teacher at the Bauhaus, Bayer helped shape the discourse of modern graphic design. After leaving the Bauhaus in 1928, he worked in Berlin, where he designed commercial advertising and typefaces. ...

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In Cooper Hewitt's gallery, a mannequin wearing a stretchy green athletic suit (including a ski mask) is on display. The mannequin is presented alongside a white chair with branch-like form, a minimalist grey and yellow prosthetic leg, and a white prosthetic leg that is bulky. The gallery is white with historic, ornate gold decorations on the wall and ceiling.
Wyss Institute Selects
Previously On View: Friday, July 12, 2019 to Sunday, March 29, 2020

Wyss Institute Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection is curated by members of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, led by its founding director, Don Ingber, working in collaboration with his co-faculty, Joanna Aizenberg, Jennifer Lewis, Radhika Nagpal, and Pam Silver. Founded in 2009, the Wyss Institute has become a world leader in biodesign engineering. The ...

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A man stares at wonder at the Curiosity Cloud, an installation composed of oversized incandescent lightbulbs suspended from the ceiling
Nature
Previously On View: Friday, May 10, 2019 to Monday, January 20, 2020

Designers are forging meaningful connections with nature, inspired by its properties and resources. Their collaborative processes—working with nature and in teams across multiple disciplines—are optimistic responses at this moment when humans contend with the complexities and conditions of our planet. Compelled by a sense of urgency, designers look to nature as a guide and partner....

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View exhibitions prior to 2015 on the collection site