Richard Schadewell. Frankfurt (“Bauhaus”) telephone. 1929. Manufacturer: H. Fuld & Co. Telefon und Telegraphenwerke AG, Frankfurt. Bakelite, nickel-plated sheet brass and paint, 5 1/8 × 4 5/16 × 6 1/8" (13 × 11 × 15.5 cm). Gift of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder
  • MoMA, Floor 5, 513 The David Geffen Wing

Between the world wars, clusters of artists, architects, and designers joined forces to work internationally as agents of economic change and social transformation. Convinced of the underlying unity of all art forms, many groups in the Netherlands, Germany, and the newly established Soviet Union aspired to harness the vast potential of industrial production and new technologies to address modern needs in the home and workplace. At the same time, middle-class women experienced new social and professional freedoms, such as opportunities for art and design education.

Broadcast via telephone, radio, film, and an explosion of print media, innovative ideas and products transcended national boundaries. Despite numerous factional disputes and false starts, the utopian experimentation of the interwar years left a powerful legacy in terms of interdisciplinary models of education, the increasing visibility of women as makers and designers, and the international networks through which creativity flowed.

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Installation images

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