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“THE DIRT (OR EARTH) IS THERE NOT ONLY TO BE SEEN BUT TO BE THOUGHT ABOUT!” Walter de Maria stated in the press release for the first installation of his influential Earth Room at the Galerie Heiner Friedrich Gallery in Munich, Germany in 1968. The show, titled “Walter de Maria The Land Show: Pure Dirt...
A Miniature Playhouse
Imaginative author Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in his 1884 essay, A Penny Plain and Twopence Coloured, “If you love art, folly, or the bright eyes of children, speed to Pollock’s…”[1] The toy theatre was a beloved pastime in 19th-century England that appealed to the creativity and craftsmanship of children and adults. Benjamin Pollock inherited his...
Basket of Blooms
Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (French, 1626-1699 ), a painter, designer and engraver, created many prints like this work, Plate 10 from Set of Flowers in a Basket which is dated to 1680. Early flower prints were primarily used for botanical textbooks, but by the end of the seventeenth century, they were considered a higher artistic medium. Prints like...
Old Masters
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Cooper Hewitt is dedicating select Object of the Day entries to the work of women designers in our collection. This sidewall was designed by Marion Dorn Kauffer who is perhaps best remembered for the inspired batik textiles, rugs and interiors she created during the interwar years. Born in San...
The Great Moon Hoax of 1835
In August of 1835 a curious report made its way to the pages of a New York newspaper. A series of six articles entitled “Great Astronomical Discoveries Lately Made by Sir John Hershel… At the Cape of Good Hope [From Supplement to the Edinburgh Journal of Science]” were published in The Sun. Today, this event is known as the...
Calendar for 1792, featurings six portrait vignettes on the top row
Guillo-TIME: Measuring Time in 1792 France
This print is a French calendar for the first six months of the year 1792. The days of each month are lined up in a column, with the top of the column featuring a roundel with a portrait. To the right of the numerical dates are respective saints as per the Catholic calendar.  The six...
Battling with an Orca
There is a story that an orca came into the harbor at Ostia, Rome’s ancient port, during the reign of Emperor Claudius, right when Claudius was reconstructing the harbor. The orca, or killer whale, was attracted by a local shipwreck, and had been feeding in the harbor for some days when it became trapped by...
Invitation with black and red text in Russian on beige ground, with dividing red vertical rectangle.
Mainstream Modernism: An Open Invitation
Arresting typography and geometric precision distinguish these Soviet-era tickets, and illustrate the permeation of fine art into daily life in the USSR. The tickets reflect the influence of constructivism, an avant-garde movement characterized by the same angular abstraction evident in these designs. Here, bold blocks of color are poised in asymmetrical balance. As in a...
Indie Publishing: Books, Magazines and Monsters
Meet editors, designers, and authors of independent books and magazines. Learn about the ups and downs of print and media in the new millennium.