The World of Radio

February 3, 2017 – September 24, 2017

Model 66 Skyscraper Radio, 1935; Designed by Harold L. Van Doren (American, 1895-1957) and John Gordon Rideout (American, 1898-1951); Manufactured by Air-King Products Company, Inc. (Brooklyn, New York, USA); Compression-molded Plaskon, metal, glass, woven textile; 29.8 × 22.5 × 19.1 cm (11 3/4 × 8 7/8 × 7 1/2 in.); Promised gift of George R. Kravis II; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
2 East 91st Street
New York, NY

Floor 2

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A Depression-era, monumental batik mural entitled The World of Radio is the focus of this exhibition of iconic radios, radio design drawings, and photographs from the early twentieth century through the present day. Designed by Arthur Gordon Smith, the mural celebrates the career of Jessica Dragonette, one of radio’s most popular personalities of the 1930s. On view for the first time in nearly three decades, the mural also includes over a dozen vignettes illustrating radio’s formative events and personalities.

Radios designed by pioneering industrial designers such as Donald Deskey, Dieter Rams, and Henry Dreyfuss are installed alongside drawings by hand of prototypes for radio consoles and cabinets designed to enhance a modern home. The exhibition also underscores the technological advancement of radio electronics—from electric powered to portables to digital media players—and includes examples of historically significant radios.