Visitors to Machine Art were startled to find three floors of utilitarian, machine-made objects, such as springs, pots and pans, and scientific instruments, displayed on pedestals, elevating them to the level of sculpture. This reverential display revealed the considerable aesthetic allure of these industrial objects, which the Museum capitalized on with a beauty contest judged by celebrities such as Amelia Earhart and the philosopher John Dewey. Dewey had argued that a person’s experience of things is shaped by the context in which they are viewed, a concept that curator Philip Johnson employed in his groundbreaking design for the exhibition. Johnson took unusual steps to show the objects to their greatest effect: he screened the walls and ceilings of the Museum’s second location in a 19th-century brownstone in order to hide its decorative molding, creating a sleek, clean atmosphere that set a new standard for the display of design objects.
MoMA March 5–April 29, 1934
Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniaest 18885 exhibitions, 2 works online
The Aluminum Cooking Utensil Co., New York, NYest. 190111 exhibitions, 5 works online
American Radiator Co.1 exhibition
American Radiator Co. Accessories Division1 exhibition
American Sheet & Tin Plate Co.1 exhibition
- There are 99 artists in this exhibition online.