July 29–November 5
The Joan and Preston Robert Tisch Exhibition Gallery, sixth floor
MoMA's ambitious survey of 20th-century design for children is the first large-scale overview of the modernist preoccupation with children and childhood as a paradigm for progressive design thinking. Taking inspiration from Swedish design reformer and social theorist Ellen Key, who in 1900 presaged the 20th century as a period of intensified focus regarding the rights, development, and well-being of children, and looking back through the 20th century 100 years after her forecast—this exhibition examines individual and collective visions for the material world of children. Organized into seven roughly chronological sections exploring different themes, Century of the Child brings together areas underrepresented in design history and often considered separately, including school architecture, clothing, playgrounds, toys and games, children's hospitals and safety equipment, nurseries, furniture, and books. Highlights of the more than 500 items on view include: the first showing of MoMA's recently acquired collection of materials representing Friedrich Froebel's development of kindergarten; Alma Siedhoff-Buscher's Bauhaus nursery furniture; puppets by Sophie Taeuber-Arp; toys designed by Ladislav Sutnar; children's chairs by Marcel Breuer, Alvar Aalto, and Kit Nicholson; seminal designs by Charles and Ray Eames; iconic toys like LEGO building blocks and the Slinky; wooden toys by Brio, Antonio Vitali, Kurt Naef, and Kay Bojesen; and a selection of original pieces from the television program Pee-wee's Playhouse.
The exhibition is organized by Juliet Kinchin, Curator, and Aidan O'Connor, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.
Major support for the exhibition is provided by Lawrence B. Benenson and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.
Additional funding is provided by the Nordic Culture Fund, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., The Modern Women's Fund, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, and Marimekko.
Support for the publication is provided by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art and the Jo Carole Lauder Publications Fund of The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art.
Special thanks to Stokke AS-Ålesund, Norway.
Above: Teaching materials commissioned by Maria Montessori. 1920s. Wood, dimensions vary. Manufactured by Baroni e Marangon, Gonzaga, Italy. Collection of Maurizio Marzadori, Bologna
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