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Tetra Pak at Moma 2004

TEMAN: IT | Innovations

Tetra Brik

Tetra Pak at MoMA in New York

Millions of people have used them around the world, every day, for decades.

Now two Tetra Pak beverage cartons, Tetra Classic and Tetra Brik, familiar as packages for milk, juice and other drinks, have been included in an exhibition of everyday “inspired designs that help make life easier, safer and more fulfilling” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Humble Masterpieces

April 8–September 27, 2004

It showcased roughly 120 common objects, from chopsticks, designed thousands of years ago, to the Yaktrax Walker, a device designed in 2002 that protects walkers from slipping on ice.

Half the objects were from MoMA’s 3,600 item design collection - which began in 1934 and ranges from a helicopter to a microchip. The others are being considered for acquisition.

Example from the exhibition catalogue


The Inspirational Tetra Pak Package

New York’s Museum of Modern Art includes Tetra® Classic and Tetra Brik® cartons in ‘Humble Masterpieces’ Exhibition

Tetra Classic

The Tetra Classic package

Originally known simply as the ‘Tetra Pak’ when first introduced in 1952 - because of its tetrahedral shape - and the Tetra Brik package, launched in 1963, are among the objects MoMA is considering for acquisition.

Humble Masterpieces

April 8–September 27, 2004 MoMA

QNS The Museum of Modern Art, Queens

The text below is from the introduction to the exhibition at Moma. For full text, please see reference below.

Every day we use dozens of tiny objects, from Post-It notes to Band-Aids, erasers, and pie cutters. If they work well, chances are we do not pay them much attention. But although modest in size and price, some of these objects are true masterpieces of the art of design and deserving of our admiration. The Museum of Modern Art, established in 1929, began giving these sorts of objects due recognition early on, setting for itself the unique mission of encouraging the understanding and application of modern arts, not only among collectors, but also manufacturers and the general public. From the outset, for the Museum’s ?rst director, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., modern arts included design. Among the very first design objects acquired by the Museum,in 1934, was a group of more than a hundred simple industrial objects, such as springs and calipers, that had been shown in the exhibition Machine Art that year.

In the late 1930s the curator John McAndrew initiated an annual series called Useful Objects, which featured well-designed items available in stores, and was meant to help the public select objects for their personal use and encourage designers to design; the series also generated numerous acquisitions. Items from both the exhibition and the series figure among the 122 objects on display in Humble Masterpieces, along with others acquired by curators over the course of the Museum’s history, some as recently as this year.

A number of objects in the show, new proposals for acquisition, have not yet made it into the collection. Along with paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and films, the collection currently includes 3,609 objects of design, ranging from a helicopter (the biggest item in the collec-tion) to a microchip (the smallest). Among the design objects are not only precious furnishings and silverware, but also hundreds of basic items from the daily lives of people around the world. To this day, the Department of Architecture and Design seeks a perfect balance between form and function that is best exemplified by the honest and disarming tea bag, the apparently simple Bic pen, the paper clip. We encourage visitors to take a second look at their bags and homes, offices, and other surroundings, and to nominate the objects they think should properly be considered masterpieces.


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