Articles by Owen Edwards

Milton Glaser's Dylan poster was inspired by Marcel Duchamp's 1957 self-portrait. "The history of visual things in the world," says Glaser, "is my playpen."

How Milton Glaser Came to Design the Iconic Poster of Bob Dylan

The 1966 illustration of the folk-rock icon captured the psychadelic dazzle of the flower-power era

The 1966-1967 sculpture, Warrior's Leg by Paul Thek, depicts with startling realism, the calf and foot of a soldier from the age of the Roman Empire, hacked off at the knee.

A Sculptor's Provocative Memorial Acknowledges the High Cost of Conflict

Paul Thek's haunting sculpture looks beyond the pomp of traditional battle memorials

Smithsonian curator Emil Her Many Horses, an artist trained both in traditional beadwork and in doll-making, created a commemorative tableau featuring miniature figures of Vietnam-era veterans and the tribal women who welcomed them home with ceremonies.

This Artwork Recognizes the Sacrifices Made by Native American Soldiers in Vietnam

Taking 'Best in Show' at the Northern Plains Tribal Art Show, the 2002 beadwork tableau is held in the collections of the American Indian Museum

The advantages of gear-and-lever voting machine, c. 1898, over the ballot box were many, including that it kept a running count, thus speeding up the reporting of results.

When Pulling a Lever Tallied the Vote

An innovative 1890s gear-and-lever voting machine mechanized the counting of the ballots so they could be tallied in minutes, not hours or days

Before He Was a Musician, John Lennon Was a Philatelist

Marking the arrival of a new postage stamp, the musician’s boyhood collection is on view at the National Postal Museum

A 2017 Ducati motorcycle, a Panigale 1299 Superleggera, as-yet unridden, is on view at the Cooper Hewitt in New York City.

A Sensuous Blending of Style and Speed, This Ducati Is Both Art and Machine

An appreciation for the cognoscenti of motorcycles

For some Manhattan sybarites, the department store's 1982 bag spelled Christmas.

Finding the Sacks Appeal in a Collection of Holiday Shopping Bags

The Cooper Hewitt's collection of some 1,000 bags reveals a few with some very cheery holiday scenes

Bradford saw the dollhouse, shown decorated for Christmas, as ever evolving: "I shall never be completely satisfied with its creation."

Christmas at the Smithsonian's Dolls' House Includes All the Trimmings—in Miniature

It's 'Deck the Halls' with Christmas cheer at the beloved Victorian-style dollhouse at the National Museum of American History

Bentley found "each snowflake is as different from its fellows as human beings are from each other."

The Man Who Revealed the Hidden Structure of Falling Snowflakes

Beginning in the 1880s, amateur photographer Wilson A. Bentley considered the endlessly varied crystals "miracles of beauty"

The National Design Awards honor 11 individuals and organizations described by Cooper-Hewitt director Caroline Baumann as having “elevated our understanding of what great American design is and what it can do to improve the world.”

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These Design Champs Are Having Their Moment in the Sun

Three Cooper-Hewitt award winners share secrets and stories with design critic Owen Edwards

The DF-24 camera, invented in 1932, is one of several that were used by cinematographer Hal Rosson to film the  Wizard of Oz.

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Without This Camera, the Emerald City Would Have Been the Color of Mud

That dramatic Dorothy in Oz moment was brought to you in living color by the DF-24 Beam Splitter

Installation view of "Masterworks from the Hirshhorn Collection at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden," 2016. Nude with Leg Up (Leigh Bowery) by Lucian Freud, 1992; Untitled (Big Man) by Ron Mueck, 2000.

The Hyperreal Magnetism of Ron Mueck's Truly Huge "Big Man"

The sculptor's showstopper is naked, overweight and grumpy

Street Scene by Walker Evans, 1936, New Orleans, gelatin silver print

Walker Evans Wrote the Story of America With His Camera

One of the greatest historians of 20th-century America was a man who used his camera to stare, pry, listen, and eavesdrop

Bottles of the two triumphant vintages 1973 Chateau Montelena chardonnay and 1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars cabernet sauvignon are now held in the Smithsonian collections.

That Revolutionary May Day in 1976 When California Wines Bested France's Finest

Forty years ago, a Copernican moment took place in viniculture when the world realized the sun didn’t always revolve around French wines

The sensuous curves and subtle walnut grain of Maloof's rocker just seem to beckon and say “Come on in a sit a while.”

Famous for His Rocking Chair, Sam Maloof Made Furniture That Had Soul

A centennial appreciation for this master of mid-century modernism is underway with a California exhibition and an upcoming seminar

In 2003, Air France donated Concorde F-BVFA to the Smithsonian. The aircraft was the first Air France Concorde to open service to Rio de Janeiro, Washington, D.C., and New York and had flown 17,824 hours.

When Concorde First Flew, It Was a Supersonic Sight to Behold

The aircraft was a technological masterpiece, but at one ton of fuel per passenger, it had a devastating ecological footprint

The mind behind Simon was the innovator Ralph H. Baer.

The Not-So-Simple Simon Proved the Young Were Swifter Than the Old

In 1978, the new blinking, bleeping toy ushered in the era of computer games

Dr. Lewis Fielding’s File Cabinet.

The World’s Most Famous Filing Cabinet

After Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, the notorious Plumbers broke into his psychiatrist’s office, looking for a way to discredit him

This custom-made board carried Kelly Slater to victory in Australia in 2010; the champion got his first surfboard at age 8 and from that moment, he says, “I was hooked.”

Kelly Slater, the Chairman of the Board

An ode to surfing’s fiercest, most successful competitor – who now has a place in the Smithsonian collections

Artists such as David Hockney were inspired by the SX-70.

How the Polaroid Stormed the Photographic World

Edwin Land's camera, the SX-70, perfected the art of instant gratification

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