modernism

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Children Go Modern
From the time she arrived in the United States from Budapest in 1913, Ilonka Karasz was a force in New York City’s creative circles. Karasz’s oeuvre is diverse; over the course of her sixty-year career, she created furniture, textiles, silver, wallpapers, ceramics, and illustrations. Between 1925 and 1973, Karasz illustrated 186 covers for the New...
A Bed for Living
This stylishly and supremely practical day bed reflects a collaboration between Frederick Kiesler and Marguerita Mergentime. It was created for Mergentime’s NYC apartment in the mid-1930s, and is Kiesler’s only known residential commission. Containing three storage compartments, a bookshelf, a swing-out bed tray for reading or eating, and an attached lamp, the bed is really...
Photograph of ceiling fixture, Rockefeller Center, 1932.
Cosmic Caldwell
Jennifer Cohlman Bracchi discusses this Caldwell lighting fixture, created for Rockefeller Center in 1932.
Coors Porcelain Company Vase
Even though the stamped marking on the underside of this vase reads “Coors Golden Colorado Pottery,” its coloring is not that of a pale ale. Rather, the exterior is painted with a cream-toned glaze, while its interior is coated in a light teal. This choice of matte glazing further calls attention to the stepped form...
Afternoon at the Museum
Little is known about this dress-weight cotton fabric, which arrived at the museum in a padded envelope with no return address. It was probably an inexpensive “novelty print” intended for the home-sewing market. This piece had been previously made up as a dirndl skirt, which requires very little shaping, so there is an uncut rectangular...
April Showers
Alexander Girard was one of the most influential textile designers of the mid-century period. Along with colleagues Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, and Eero Saarinen, he was a strong proponent of bringing an affordable modernism to the middle class. From 1952 to 1973, Girard served as head of the Textile Division of Herman Miller...
Celebrating the Commercial Building
Ely Jacques Kahn's design for a skyscraper, now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, demonstrates the power of the architectural drawing as an advertising tool.
Playing with Modern Design
The Wobblies show their wobbliness, which is cleverly illustrated on their box by faint wavy blue lines. Interestingly, there are two definitions of the word wobbly. The first is “inclined to wobble; shaky.” A Wobbly (capitalized) is also “a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, an international, revolutionary industrial union founded in Chicago...
Algol 11 before Apollo 11: Sapper and Zanuso’s TV Set for Brionvega
During the 1950s and 1960s, television was a cultural force both in America and abroad. Milestones that included the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II were broadcast across the world. Variety and music shows, which included “Ready Steady Go!” and “The Ed Sullivan Show,” drew youth to watch their...