• Children during a light-therapy session, 1937.

A century of dictating and entertaining kids

11 November 2012 / ,

The evolution of a medium over a century is an intriguing progression of form and function, but when that medium is design for children the topics include education, entertainment, politics, propaganda, ideology, exploitation, and more. Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000 is centered around Ellen Key’s predictions for modern design and modern childhood progressing into the future. The exhibition showcases a plethora of iconic and stunning work ranging from paintings to posters, toys to games from a wide range of designers and artists. These works illustrate the impact of design on a child’s development, and how children can inspire design as well. I was most intrigued by work from 1920–1940, when modern design was first taking shape and increasingly used as a tool to influence and educate. The exhibition is a great reminder that design has consequences, as it shapes our everyday lives and should be done so thoughtfully—for everyone and everything. Explore more at http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2012/centuryofthechild/#/.

Berthold Löffler, Kunstschau Wien, 1908.
Kurt Schwitters, Die Scheuche, 1925.
Vladimir Lebedev, Vchera i segodnia, 1925.
Vladimir Lebedev, Vchera i segodnia, 1925.
Nikolai Kupreianov, Spor mezhdu domami, 1926.
Walter Käch, Ausstellung der neue schulbau, 1932.
Richard Neutra, “Typical Classr[oo]m Activity Train[in]g,” 1935.
Josep Llu ís Sert with GATCPAC (Grup d’Arquitectes i Tècnics Catalans per al Progrés de l’Arquitectura Contemporània), The Functional City, 1935.
Hannes Meyer, Kinderferienheim, 1937.
Elena Afanas’eva, Deti sovetov, 1931.
El Lissitzky, USSR. Die russische Ausstellung, 1929.
C.M., Settimana del Balilla 5–10 Dicembre XIV Genova, 1935.
Touzet, Mon alphabet, 1940.
Gioco delle 3 oche, 1944.
Herbert Matter, One of Them Had Polio, Skilled Teamwork Brought Recovery, 1949–50.