Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Anxiety, Culture and Commerce

One of the earliest design shows at the Museum of Modern Art was called “Useful Object Under $5.” There’s not a lot of anxiety, or pretension, in that title. The exhibit opened at the museum in 1938 and then traveled to ten cities. The press release states that the wares include an aluminum tea kettle, a red rubber-covered dish drainer, a traveling iron, stainless steel knives, a shower curtain, a fur hangar. And that several items came from the five and dime.