NYC – The Value of Good Design at MoMA from February 10, 2019


From February 10 through May 27, 2019 the Museum of Modern Art in NYC presents the exhibition “The Value of Good Design”.

Cover image: Dante Giacosa (Italian, 1905–1996). 500f city car. Designed 1957 (this example 1968). Steel with fabric top. Manufactured by Fiat S.p.A. (Turin, Italy, est. 1899). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Heritage. Photo by Jonathan Muzikar © The Museum of Modern Art 

Featuring objects from domestic furnishings and appliances to ceramics, glass, electronics, transport design, sporting goods, toys, and graphics, “The Value of Good Design” explores the democratizing potential of design, beginning with MoMA’s Good Design initiatives from the late 1930s through the 1950s, which championed welldesigned, affordable contemporary products.  The concept of Good Design also took hold well beyond the Museum, with governments on both sides of the Cold War divide embracing it as a vital tool of social and economic reconstruction and technological advancement in the years following World War II.

This global scope is reflected in many of the items on view, from a mass-market Italian Fiat Cinquecento automobile and a Soviet-era East German Werra camera to a Japanese Sony television and a Brazilian bowl chair. These works join both iconic and unexpected items made in the US, such as the Eames La Chaise, a Chemex Coffee Maker, and Irwin Gershen’s Shrimp Cleaner.


Left: John R. Carroll (American, 1892–1958). Presto Cheese Slicer. c. 1944. Cast aluminum and steel wire. Manufactured by R.A. Frederick Co. (United States). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Edgar Kaufmann, Jr.
Right: Irwin Gershen (American). Shrimp Cleaner. 1954. Plastic and stainless steel. Manufactured by Plastic Dispensers Inc. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Department purchase

The exhibition also raises questions about what Good Design might mean today, and whether values from mid-century can be translated and redefined for a 21st-century audience. Visitors are invited to judge for themselves by trying out a few “good design” classics still in production, and exploring how, through its design stores, MoMA continues to incubate new products and ideas in an international marketplace.

The Value of Good Design Organized by Juliet Kinchin, Curator, and Andrew Gardner, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA.


Left: Max Bill (Swiss, 1908–1994). Kitchen Clock. 1956–57. Ceramic, metal, and glass . Manufactured by Gebrüder Junghans AG (Schramberg, Germany, est. 1861). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Architecture and Design Purchase Fund. Photo by Thomas Griesel © The Museum of Modern Art.
Right: Sony Corporation (Tokyo, Japan, est. 1946). Television (TX8-301). 1959. Plastic, metal, and glass, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder.


Greta Von Nessen (American, born Sweden. 1898–1978). Anywhere Lamp. 1951. Aluminum and enameled steel. Manufactured by Nessen Studio, Inc (New York, NY, est. 1927). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Architecture and Design Purchase Fund 

The Value of Good Design
February 10 / May 27, 2019
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street – New York, NY 10019

The exhibition is supported by the Annual Exhibition Fund with major contributions from the Estate of Ralph L. Riehle, Alice and Tom Tisch, Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, Brett and Daniel Sundheim, Karen and Gary Winnick, The Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, and Oya and Bülent Eczacıbaşı.

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