Remember your favorite childhood toy trucks and boardgames and playground equipment? All of those are historically suspicious and were probably propaganda!
Taking its inspiration from the 1900 book “Century of the Child,” by Swedish design reformer and social theorist Ellen Key, the MoMA exhibition of the same name surveys 20th century design for children. Featuring nursery furniture, toys, political propaganda, public urban spaces, children’s television, clothing, literature, and more, the exhibition examines the political and social agendas of modernist design for children.
“As soon as you start thinking about designing for children, it raises fundamental questions of what kind of society you want those children to inherit — what kind of values, what kind of future world you’re preparing them for,” curator Juliet Kinchin told The Huffington Post. “This emphasis on designing and shaping the future in relation to children is a very powerful theme that runs right through the 20th century… So much design is incredibly utopian and idealistic — but that can so easily shade into more totalitarian approaches of the adult knowing best or the state knowing best for children.”
The exhibition runs through November 5. Find out more here.