MoMA Revisits Modernist Adolescence in Century of the Child

MoMA Revisits Modernist Adolescence in Century of the Child

By Max Eternity

Max Eternity @ – Opening this week at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an exhibition entitled Century of the Child.  The exhibition is being displayed on the 6th floor of the museum—in the Joan and Preston Robert Tisch Exhibition Gallery space— and is chronologically organized in 7 sections, which explore associated thematics by design type, size and material composition, and geographical aesthetics based on regionalism.

The exhibition is organized [and curated] by Juliet Kinchin, Curator, and Aidan O’Connor, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, and under their direction is successful in creating a visual narrative of cogently assembled childhood objects and artifacts, which are inseparably intertwined with value placed on feminism, domestically and at the office; shedding important light on “the contributions of women as architects, designers, teachers, critics, and social activists.”

From MoMA’s press release:

In 1900, Swedish design reformer and social theorist Ellen Key published Century of the Child, a manifesto for change—social, political, aesthetic, and psychological—that presented the universal rights and well-being of children as the defining mission of the century to come. Taking inspiration from Key—and looking back through the 20th century 100 years later—this exhibition examines individual and collective visions for the material world of children, from utopian dreams for the “citizens of the future” to the dark realities of political conflict and exploitation.

MoMA’s Century of the Child includes set and prop pieces from Pee-wee’s Playhouse, as well as designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and is on display July 29th through November 5th.  Select images of exhibited pieces follows below, and for additional information, click here to visit MoMA’s Century of the Child website.

Jean Prouvé (French, 1901–1984). School desk. 1946. Enameled steel and oak, 28 1/2 x 45 x 34″ (72.4 x 114.3 x 86.4 cm). Manufactured by Ateliers Jean Prouvé, Nancy. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Dorothy Cullman Purchase Fund

Omnibot 2000, remote-controlled robot. c. 1985. Various materials, 24 x 15 x 14″ (61 x 38.1 x 35.6 cm). Manufactured by Tomy (formerly Tomiyama), Katsushika, Tokyo. Space Age Museum/Kleeman Family Collection, Litchfield, Connecticut

Werner John (Swiss, born 1941). Kinder Verkehrs Garten (Children’s traffic garden), poster advertising a children’s traffic school. 1959. Lithograph, 51 x 36″ (129.5 x 91.4 cm). Printed by Allgemeine Gewerbeschule, Basel. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Architecture and Design Purchase Fund

Lucienne Bloch (American, b. Switzerland, 1909-1999). The Cycle of a Woman’s Life study for a mural commissioned by Federal Art Project, Works Progress Administration, for the House of Detention for Women, Greenwich Village, New York. 1935. Water and pencil on board, 11 ¾ x 17 ¼” (29.8 x 43.8 c,). The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, Miami Beach, The Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection

Froebel Gift No. 2: Sphere, Cylinder, and Cube. c. 1890. Wood and string, 11 1/4 x 10 1/4 x 3″ (28.6 x 26 x 7.6 cm). Manufactured by J. L. Hammett Co., Braintree, Massachusetts (est. 1863). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Lawrence Benenson, 2011


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