The Cooper-Hewitt (2E 91st Street) is a museum of design in New York City. Its permanent collection has over 210,000 objects in product design, decorative arts, works on paper, graphic design, textiles, wall coverings, and digital materials. The museum is located in the nicely restored Andrew Carnegie mansion, with its beautifully hand-carved staircase and ceilings and its sunroom.
Items from the museum’s permanent collection on display included elaborately carved cabinets and a display of amazingly elaborate carved staircases. Another exhibit highlights the ways in which new technologies are enabling new designs. These include the use of computer-controlled instruments for creating complex, repetitive designs, 3D printing to create low-volume, custom devices, and braising as an alternative to welding to create extra-strong metal joints.
2017 Exhibit Jazz Age
On our 2017 visit, its top 2 floors had a Jazz Age exhibit. While Jazz was a U.S. art form that exerted a powerful influence on Europe, the foundations of Deco originated in Europe (especially France, Germany, and Austria) and was transferred to the U.S. via U.S Government. Then U.S. department store representatives who were sent to the 1925 Paris Exhibition, brought a display back to the U.S. and then prompted artists, designers, and manufacturers to create goods to address these needs. These efforts were facilitated by a continual migration of experienced European (especially German and Austrian) architects, designers, and artisans to the U.S. The exhibit included a wide range of Deco-influenced clothing, jewelry, furniture, home furnishings, and art, with their sleek lines, bright colors, geometric shapes, and futuristic styling and explained how Japanese, Persian, and Egyptian (after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb) influences found their ways into American products.
Furniture, in particular, demonstrated the growing importance of mass production and a section of the exhibit on radios showed not only new-age styling, but also the ways in which mass communications and entertainment changed society.