Century of the Child at MoMA

Monday, August 27, 2012

Curator Juliet Kinchin discusses the exhibition “Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000,” a survey of 20th-century design for children, that brings together school architecture, playgrounds, toys and games, animation, clothing, safety equipment and therapeutic products, nurseries, furniture, and books. “Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000” is on view at MoMA through November 5.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Ctislav Sutnar and Radoslav Sutnar.
Ladislav Sutnar (American, born Bohemia [now Czech Republic]. 1897–1976). Build the Town building blocks. 1940–43.

Painted wood, thirty pieces of various dimensions, largest smokestack: 7 3/8 x 2″ (18.7 x 5.1 cm).

Wolfsoniana – Fondazione regionale per la Cultura e lo Spettacolo, Genoa
Antonio Rubino (Italian, 1880–1964). Il bimbo cattivo (The bad child) bedroom panel. c. 1924.

Tempera on canvas, 6′ 1 1/4″ x 65 3/4″ x 9/16″ (186 x 167 x 1.5 cm). Wolfsoniana – Fondazione regionale per la Cultura e lo Spettacolo, Genoa

Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague
Minka Podhájská (Czechoslovak, born Moravia [now Czech Republic], 1881–1963). Series of Personifications of Childhood Misdeeds. 1930.

Painted wood, dimensions vary, largest: 5 1/8″(13 cm) tall.  

Gift of funds from Don and Diana Lee Lucker
John Rideout (American, 1898 – 1951) and Harold Van Doren (American, 1895-1957). Skippy-Racer scooter. c. 1933.

Steel, paint, wood, rubber, 31 3/4 x 43 3/16 x 6 1/2 in. (80.65 x 109.7 x 16.51 cm). Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  

The Modernism Collection, gift of Norwest Bank Minnesota
Graf Zeppelin toy dirigible. c. 1930.

Iron alloy, aluminum, enamel paint, and decals, 7 ¼ x 25” (18.4 x 63.5 cm). Manufacture attributed to J.C. Penney Co., Inc., Plano, Texas. Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Bruce Sterling Collection, New York
Ford convertible toy car with original box. c. 1956.

 Tinplate and various materials, car: 3 7/8 x 5 1/8 x 13 1/4″ (9.8 x 13 x 33.7 cm). Manufactured by Marusan Shoten Ltd., Tokyo (est. 1947). Subaru 360 toy car with original box. c. 1963. Tinplate, car: 3 3/8 x 3 3/8 x 7 7/8″ (8.6 x 8.6 x 20 cm). Manufactured by Bandai, Tokyo (est. 1950).

Collection of Joan Wadleigh Curran, Philadelphia
Holdrakèta and original box. c. 1960.

Tin, box: 24 x 6″ (61 x 15.2 cm). Manufactured by Lemezaru Gyar, Budapest (est. 1950).

Space Age Museum/Kleeman Family Collection, Litchfield, Connecticut

Various materials, 24 x 15 x 14″ (61 x 38.1 x 35.6 cm). Manufactured by Tomy (formerly Tomiyama), Katsushika, Tokyo.

Gift of Lawrence Benenson, 2011
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.

Collection of Maurizio Marzadori , Bologna
Teaching materials commissioned by Maria Montessori. 1920s.

Wood, dimensions vary. Manufactured by Baroni e Marangon, Gonzaga, Italy (est. 1911).


Juliet Kinchin

Comments [5]

A.Wynne from Stone Ridge, NY

CK's comment is spot on! She also could not be more soporific!

Aug. 27 2012 01:29 PM
Henry from Manhattan

The pessimist in me feels as if the main purpose of toys these days is to teach children how to be high volume product consumers.

Aug. 27 2012 01:28 PM
Hugh Sansom

School design certainly hasn't advanced in New York. NYC seems to have an unlimited supply of World War 2 surplus olive drab. I'm astonished by how depressing NYC invariably makes its schools.

As for risk-averseness. My understanding is that these things go in cycles. Parents went through as obsessively protective phase about 100 years ago. (I think WNYC may have had an interview with someone making this point.)

Aug. 27 2012 01:27 PM
CK from Yorktown

Leonard: thanks for pointing out the slide show with the toys. Very interesting and more historic, interesting than this conversation has suggested. I wonder if this woman has children. She sounds as if they're curious creatures, maybe like pets, that things were created for. As if she's never personally met one, but seen them with other people....

Aug. 27 2012 01:21 PM
Florry from Williamsburg, NY

I used to respond to the show by yelling at the radio, now I apologize for interrupting. :)

Aug. 27 2012 01:12 PM

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