Monday, June 13, 2011

Smithsonian: Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

I recently spent a few morning hours exploring the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum with my daughter-in-law and wife. We took our time wandering through the two current exhibitions “Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels” and “Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay” as well as the gift shop. It was interesting to see the many influences of the world on the designers in the exhibitions, and then back again as their designs influenced the world. I was particularly impressed by the Chinese Magician pocket watch, the transforming zipper jewelry, and the Bronx Cocktail bracelet. The old ledgers documenting the design process were a very nice addition as well.

I hope someday to visit the the Museum’s Drue Heinz Study Center for Drawings and Prints which is currently closed. It houses more than 160,000 works of art dating from the Renaissance to the present related to the history of European and American art and design. The collection includes designs for architecture, decorative arts, gardens, interiors, ornament, jewelry, theater, textiles, graphic and industrial design, as well as the fine arts. You can browse through their holdings here.

The gift shop is a visual feast as well, with such wonders as the Hazelnut Box with Miniature Knife and Yoshida The Crow Model Airplane. “The Crow design was the first such model plane to ever be built and flown in Japan. It dates from 1889, when its inventor based his model on the crow’s wing span after studying them in flight.”

The Ampersand, Pt. 1

Graffiti from Pompeii, circa 79 AD.

via Shady Characters The secret life of punctuation
…the ampersand is an orphan: its creator is not known, and the closest it comes to a parent is the anonymous first century graffiti artist who scrawled it hastily across a Pompeiian wall.”
Read the rest here.