Posts tagged "design"
Froebel Gift 2. 1890
Intent on fostering the curiosity and creativity of young minds, Froebel devised a series of twenty playthings, which he called “Gifts.” These objectsformed the core of his pioneering model of early childhood education, anchoring sessions of play that were either directed by teachers or instigated by the children themselves. Gifts one through ten included crocheted balls in different colors, wooden building blocks, geometric shapes, and steel rings that could be arranged in numerous temporary configurations. Gifts eleven through twenty provided the materials for focused activities, such as multicolored sheets of paper for cutting, weaving, and folding. By the early twentieth century, this system was so popular that Froebel Gifts were being manufactured on a large scale in both Europe and the United States.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Froebel Gift 2. 1890

Intent on fostering the curiosity and creativity of young minds, Froebel devised a series of twenty playthings, which he called “Gifts.” These objects
formed the core of his pioneering model of early childhood education, anchoring sessions of play that were either directed by teachers or instigated by the children themselves. Gifts one through ten included crocheted balls in different colors, wooden building blocks, geometric shapes, and steel rings that could be arranged in numerous temporary configurations. Gifts eleven through twenty provided the materials for focused activities, such as multicolored sheets of paper for cutting, weaving, and folding. By the early twentieth century, this system was so popular that Froebel Gifts were being manufactured on a large scale in both Europe and the United States.

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Ladislav Sutnar. Build the Town building blocks. 1940-43
In keeping with his commitment to modernist principles, Sutnar believed in the cognitive power of a visual language rooted in elemental shapes and colors. Building entire cities with blocks, he believed, would give children an awareness of form and structure that made direct reference to the simple, geometric volumes of functionalist architecture, while also giving a sense of the functional and aesthetic interrelationships between different types of buildings in the modern city. He described these nonverbal, object lessons, taught through play, as “mental vitamins necessary for the right development of a child.” The prototype sets seen here were never put into full production.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Ladislav Sutnar. Build the Town building blocks. 1940-43

In keeping with his commitment to modernist principles, Sutnar believed in the cognitive power of a visual language rooted in elemental shapes and colors. Building entire cities with blocks, he believed, would give children an awareness of form and structure that made direct reference to the simple, geometric volumes of functionalist architecture, while also giving a sense of the functional and aesthetic interrelationships between different types of buildings in the modern city. He described these nonverbal, object lessons, taught through play, as “mental vitamins necessary for the right development of a child.” The prototype sets seen here were never put into full production.

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Child’s kimono with the manga character Norakuro the dog. 1930
The curious assemblage of visual references in the patterns of this boys’ kimono, a classic item of Japanese ceremonial clothing, reflects the tensions created by the speed of the country’s modernization and the military aspirations of the Meiji rulers. On this kimono, the motifs include an armored car, a military plane, and Norakuro (a popular cartoon dog) walking with a boy scout over a background of Japanese flags and silhouetted battle scenes featuring cavalrymen, marching troops, and soldiers with their arms raised in a “Banzai!” gesture, all framed by the sprockets of a motion-picture film.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Child’s kimono with the manga character Norakuro the dog. 1930

The curious assemblage of visual references in the patterns of this boys’ kimono, a classic item of Japanese ceremonial clothing, reflects the tensions created by the speed of the country’s modernization and the military aspirations of the Meiji rulers. On this kimono, the motifs include an armored car, a military plane, and Norakuro (a popular cartoon dog) walking with a boy scout over a background of Japanese flags and silhouetted battle scenes featuring cavalrymen, marching troops, and soldiers with their arms raised in a “Banzai!” gesture, all framed by the sprockets of a motion-picture film.

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Produced by Ella Steigelman, founding member of the California Kindergarten Training School. Kindergarten teacher’s workbook. 1890
Froebel’s system departed from traditional methods of schooling in emphasizing things rather than words, and doing rather than talking or memorizing. This group of early twentieth-century workbooks, which demonstrate Froebel’s educational philosophy, were all prepared by women, whom many reformers at the time considered more effective than men as educators of infants. The distinct visual character of each workbook indicates the range of creative expression that was possible using Froebel’s Gifts-a system of nonrepresentational objects and materials that aimed to develop recognition and appreciation of natural harmony. These early exercises in abstraction and pattern making paralleled many of the activities adopted by progressive schools of art and design in the early twentieth century.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Produced by Ella Steigelman, founding member of the California Kindergarten Training School. Kindergarten teacher’s workbook. 1890

Froebel’s system departed from traditional methods of schooling in emphasizing things rather than words, and doing rather than talking or memorizing. This group of early twentieth-century workbooks, which demonstrate Froebel’s educational philosophy, were all prepared by women, whom many reformers at the time considered more effective than men as educators of infants. The distinct visual character of each workbook indicates the range of creative expression that was possible using Froebel’s Gifts-a system of nonrepresentational objects and materials that aimed to develop recognition and appreciation of natural harmony. These early exercises in abstraction and pattern making paralleled many of the activities adopted by progressive schools of art and design in the early twentieth century.

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Pee-wee’s Playhouse interior. 1987
Pee-wee’s Playhouse, the children’s television show broadcast on CBS from 1986 to 1991, was modern and spectacular in every way. This quirky and ambitious Saturday-morning program was the only one of its time to incorporate live action with animation and puppetry. It was celebrated by critics and the popular press for its design elements (art direction, set design, costume design, graphics, and title design) as well as its original writing, music, and performances. The show’s dense and lively format was complemented by flat, high-key lighting and the set itself, which was primarily the work of production designer Gary Panter with Wayne White and Ric Heitzman. The playhouse, like the narrative structure it housed, is best characterized as pastiche, and a cast of regular characters was created from everyday objects. Through its unique environment and rich episode content, the show enraptured young viewers while shaking up conventional ideas about domesticity, consumerism, friendship, and imagination. Paul Reubens (Pee-wee) intended it to be educational, entertaining, and artistic. “I’m just trying to illustrate that it’s okay to be different,” he explained. “Not that it’s good, not that it’s bad, but that it’s all right. Tell kids to have a good time … be creative … question things.”
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Pee-wee’s Playhouse interior. 1987

Pee-wee’s Playhouse, the children’s television show broadcast on CBS from 1986 to 1991, was modern and spectacular in every way. This quirky and ambitious Saturday-morning program was the only one of its time to incorporate live action with animation and puppetry. It was celebrated by critics and the popular press for its design elements (art direction, set design, costume design, graphics, and title design) as well as its original writing, music, and performances. The show’s dense and lively format was complemented by flat, high-key lighting and the set itself, which was primarily the work of production designer Gary Panter with Wayne White and Ric Heitzman. The playhouse, like the narrative structure it housed, is best characterized as pastiche, and a cast of regular characters was created from everyday objects. Through its unique environment and rich episode content, the show enraptured young viewers while shaking up conventional ideas about domesticity, consumerism, friendship, and imagination. Paul Reubens (Pee-wee) intended it to be educational, entertaining, and artistic. “I’m just trying to illustrate that it’s okay to be different,” he explained. “Not that it’s good, not that it’s bad, but that it’s all right. Tell kids to have a good time … be creative … question things.”

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Lewis Hine. Child in Carolina Cotton Mill. 1908
American photographer and sociologist Hine recorded children’s working lives on behalf of the National Child Labor Committee, an organization established in 1904 to alleviate the exploitation of children, with headquarters in New York. A source of cheap labor then as now, children in factories and sweatshops assisted in the process of churning out goods designed for markets that included their middle-class peers.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Lewis Hine. Child in Carolina Cotton Mill. 1908

American photographer and sociologist Hine recorded children’s working lives on behalf of the National Child Labor Committee, an organization established in 1904 to alleviate the exploitation of children, with headquarters in New York. A source of cheap labor then as now, children in factories and sweatshops assisted in the process of churning out goods designed for markets that included their middle-class peers.

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Conceived and commissioned by Maria Montessori. Teaching materials. 1920s
While studying for her medical degree at the Regia Università di Roma Sapienza–the first woman to qualify there–Montessori developed a particular interest in the creative potential of children with learning difficulties. From systematic analysis of these children’s play, she devised an activity-based teaching method that used material objects to stimulate their senses, and she believed that children should be allowed to explore these materials at their own pace. Montessori’s 1909 publication about her innovative methods developed an international following, which led to the establishment of schools based on her philosophies around the world.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Conceived and commissioned by Maria Montessori. Teaching materials. 1920s

While studying for her medical degree at the Regia Università di Roma Sapienza–the first woman to qualify there–Montessori developed a particular interest in the creative potential of children with learning difficulties. From systematic analysis of these children’s play, she devised an activity-based teaching method that used material objects to stimulate their senses, and she believed that children should be allowed to explore these materials at their own pace. Montessori’s 1909 publication about her innovative methods developed an international following, which led to the establishment of schools based on her philosophies around the world.

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Rudolf Steiner. In mir ist Gott – Ich bin in Gott (God is in me – I am in God). 1924
This drawing indicates how Steiner, one of the most influential educational theorists of the twentieth-century, would illustrate school lessons and public lectures with rapid chalk sketches on a blackboard or sheets of black paper. By means of such instantaneous mark-making, he communicated his sense of thought as living, creative energy, and of the individual as part of larger metaphysical harmonies. Steiner established his first school in 1919 for children of employees at the Waldorf- Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart. Within a decade Steiner schools had been established not only in Germany and his native Switzerland, butin Austria, Britain, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States, where the first one opened in New York, on East 79th Street.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Rudolf Steiner. In mir ist Gott – Ich bin in Gott (God is in me – I am in God). 1924

This drawing indicates how Steiner, one of the most influential educational theorists of the twentieth-century, would illustrate school lessons and public lectures with rapid chalk sketches on a blackboard or sheets of black paper. By means of such instantaneous mark-making, he communicated his sense of thought as living, creative energy, and of the individual as part of larger metaphysical harmonies. Steiner established his first school in 1919 for children of employees at the Waldorf- Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart. Within a decade Steiner schools had been established not only in Germany and his native Switzerland, butin Austria, Britain, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States, where the first one opened in New York, on East 79th Street.

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Sophie Taeuber-Arp. Sentry puppet from König Hirsch (The stag king). 1918
The basic elements of Taeuber-Arp’s puppets, turned pieces of wood, are round and sculptural, linked by ring-bolt joints that allow movement in many directions. Puppets were a traditional and popular art form that appeared in many avant-garde circles between the world wars, some growing out of studio projects and others conceived within groups of friends as both a playful diversion and an outlet for new ideas on design, choreography, and performance. Taeuber-Arp, the only woman on the committee of the avant-garde Swiss Puppet Theater, established in 1918, was able to draw on her experience as a performer at Dada soirees and as a dancer at Rudolf von Laban’s school of movement in Zurich.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Sophie Taeuber-Arp. Sentry puppet from König Hirsch (The stag king). 1918

The basic elements of Taeuber-Arp’s puppets, turned pieces of wood, are round and sculptural, linked by ring-bolt joints that allow movement in many directions. Puppets were a traditional and popular art form that appeared in many avant-garde circles between the world wars, some growing out of studio projects and others conceived within groups of friends as both a playful diversion and an outlet for new ideas on design, choreography, and performance. Taeuber-Arp, the only woman on the committee of the avant-garde Swiss Puppet Theater, established in 1918, was able to draw on her experience as a performer at Dada soirees and as a dancer at Rudolf von Laban’s school of movement in Zurich.

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Lyonel Feininger. The Kin-der-Kids from Chicago Sunday Tribune. April 29, 1906
The modern mass-circulation comic appeared in Europe and the United States in the 1890s, but it wasn’t until the twentieth century that comics and animation–two art forms initially created for children–began to have a profound impact on modern visual culture. Feininger and Winsor McCay, the two great illustrators of American comics in the opening decades of the twentieth century, conceived of the comic strip as full-page layouts with radical and inventive experiments in scale, sequence, and format.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Lyonel Feininger. The Kin-der-Kids from Chicago Sunday Tribune. April 29, 1906

The modern mass-circulation comic appeared in Europe and the United States in the 1890s, but it wasn’t until the twentieth century that comics and animation–two art forms initially created for children–began to have a profound impact on modern visual culture. Feininger and Winsor McCay, the two great illustrators of American comics in the opening decades of the twentieth century, conceived of the comic strip as full-page layouts with radical and inventive experiments in scale, sequence, and format.

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Magda Mautner von Markhof. Kalenderbilderbuch (Calendar picture book). 1905
Design for children in the early twentieth-century was generally not seen as profitable or high status, but for many women like Magda Mautner von Markoff, it was a new and important field. At the time, as suggested by the design critic Amelia Levetus in an article about Viennese toys, women were felt to “better understand child nature than men; they are nearer to them in thought, and sympathise with them in a way that men rarely do.”
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Magda Mautner von Markhof. Kalenderbilderbuch (Calendar picture book). 1905

Design for children in the early twentieth-century was generally not seen as profitable or high status, but for many women like Magda Mautner von Markoff, it was a new and important field. At the time, as suggested by the design critic Amelia Levetus in an article about Viennese toys, women were felt to “better understand child nature than men; they are nearer to them in thought, and sympathise with them in a way that men rarely do.”

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Bruno Taut. Dandanah – The Fairy Palace. 1919-20.
Following World War I, at a time of severe material shortages and inactivity in the building industries, Bruno Taut and a Berlin group of radical German architects and artists turned to more modest undertakings, such as the design of toys. Taut’s colored glass blocks recalled in microcosm the prismatic form of his Glass House pavilion at the 1914 Werkbund exhibition in Cologne. They allowed children to build free of real-world constraints, relying instead on imagination and artistic intuition. The simple shapes could be reconfigured endlessly (the set came with six colored sheets showing a variety of assemblages), and this malleability fit with Taut’s conception of the new spirit in architecture as dynamic and mobile.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Bruno Taut. Dandanah – The Fairy Palace. 1919-20.

Following World War I, at a time of severe material shortages and inactivity in the building industries, Bruno Taut and a Berlin group of radical German architects and artists turned to more modest undertakings, such as the design of toys. Taut’s colored glass blocks recalled in microcosm the prismatic form of his Glass House pavilion at the 1914 Werkbund exhibition in Cologne. They allowed children to build free of real-world constraints, relying instead on imagination and artistic intuition. The simple shapes could be reconfigured endlessly (the set came with six colored sheets showing a variety of assemblages), and this malleability fit with Taut’s conception of the new spirit in architecture as dynamic and mobile.

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Alma Siedhoff-Buscher. Haus am Horn nursery furniture. 1923-24
Siedhoff-Buscher designed this furniture for the children’s room in the experimental Haus am Horn, part of the first Bauhaus exhibition of 1923. Widely regarded as the first true manifestation of the Bauhaus’s modernist principles in furniture construction and domestic design, Siedhoff-Buscher’s furniture exemplifies the opportunity to combine elemental, multipurpose forms with the potential for mass production. It also reflected her ambitious conception of design for children and belief in the potential of this area to effect change in society at large in addition to the individual child or family.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Alma Siedhoff-Buscher. Haus am Horn nursery furniture. 1923-24

Siedhoff-Buscher designed this furniture for the children’s room in the experimental Haus am Horn, part of the first Bauhaus exhibition of 1923. Widely regarded as the first true manifestation of the Bauhaus’s modernist principles in furniture construction and domestic design, Siedhoff-Buscher’s furniture exemplifies the opportunity to combine elemental, multipurpose forms with the potential for mass production. It also reflected her ambitious conception of design for children and belief in the potential of this area to effect change in society at large in addition to the individual child or family.

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

El Lissitzky. USSR. Die russische Ausstellung (USSR: The Russian exhibition), poster for exhibition at the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Zurich. 1929
In Lissitzky’s poster a boy and a girl are photographically fused into a single entity to embody the ideal of the international Soviet and its egalitarian, collective consciousness. Their open-necked shirts and the girl’s breeze-blown hair, silhouetted against an open sky, speak to the children’s healthy lifestyle and, by association, the vitality of the state. This poster prefigures many of the conventions that would harden into Socialist Realism, including the relentless optimism and the gigantism that elevates figures to a superhuman scale and power. But Lissitzky’s skilled use of photomontage and graphic design also make this an effective piece of propaganda, which was widely admired by avant-garde designers at the time.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

El Lissitzky. USSR. Die russische Ausstellung (USSR: The Russian exhibition), poster for exhibition at the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Zurich. 1929

In Lissitzky’s poster a boy and a girl are photographically fused into a single entity to embody the ideal of the international Soviet and its egalitarian, collective consciousness. Their open-necked shirts and the girl’s breeze-blown hair, silhouetted against an open sky, speak to the children’s healthy lifestyle and, by association, the vitality of the state. This poster prefigures many of the conventions that would harden into Socialist Realism, including the relentless optimism and the gigantism that elevates figures to a superhuman scale and power. But Lissitzky’s skilled use of photomontage and graphic design also make this an effective piece of propaganda, which was widely admired by avant-garde designers at the time.

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack. Optical Color-Mixer. 1924
Experience with toy design, often as a result of idealistic attempts to bring up their own children in a new and creative manner, was common among staff and students of the progressive Bauhaus school. These spinning disks, also known as the Optische Farbmischer (Optical color mixer), adhered to the emerging Bauhaus aesthetic of simple geometric forms and unmodulated primary colors, which was due in part to a method of teaching inspired by the kindergarten movement. Toys like the spinning disks and Alma Siedhoff-Buscher’s construction blocks sold well, providing an important source of income for the new institution.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack. Optical Color-Mixer. 1924

Experience with toy design, often as a result of idealistic attempts to bring up their own children in a new and creative manner, was common among staff and students of the progressive Bauhaus school. These spinning disks, also known as the Optische Farbmischer (Optical color mixer), adhered to the emerging Bauhaus aesthetic of simple geometric forms and unmodulated primary colors, which was due in part to a method of teaching inspired by the kindergarten movement. Toys like the spinning disks and Alma Siedhoff-Buscher’s construction blocks sold well, providing an important source of income for the new institution.

Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild

Get your daily dose of design from the MoMA exhibition Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000. During each of the 100 days of the exhibition we will showcase an object featured in the show.

To find out more about Century of the Child visit MoMA.org/centuryofthechild.

Purchase the exhibition catalogue on MoMAStore.org or get the digital edition for the iPad on iTunes.

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