Michelle Millar Fisher

Michelle Millar Fisher, a curator and architecture and design historian, is Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She lectures frequently on design, people, and the politics of things.

  • Designing Motherhood

    Designing Motherhood

    Michelle Millar Fisher and Amber Winick

    More than eighty designs—iconic, archaic, quotidian, and taboo—that have defined arc of human reproduction.

    While birth often brings great joy, making babies is a knotty enterprise. The designed objects that surround us when it comes to menstruation, birth control, conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood vary as oddly, messily, and dramatically as the stereotypes suggest. This smart, image-rich, fashion-forward, and design-driven book explores more than eighty designs—iconic, conceptual, archaic, titillating, emotionally charged, or just plain strange—that have defined the relationships between people and babies during the past century.

    Each object tells a story. In striking images and engaging text, Designing Motherhood unfolds the compelling design histories and real-world uses of the objects that shape our reproductive experiences. The authors investigate the baby carrier, from the Snugli to BabyBjörn, and the (re)discovery of the varied traditions of baby wearing; the tie-waist skirt, famously worn by a pregnant Lucille Ball on I Love Lucy, and essential for camouflaging and slowly normalizing a public pregnancy; the home pregnancy kit, and its threat to the authority of male gynecologists; and more. Memorable images—including historical ads, found photos, and drawings—illustrate the crucial role design and material culture plays throughout the arc of human reproduction.

    • Hardcover $29.95

Contributor

  • Design by Accident

    Design by Accident

    For a New History of Design

    Alexandra Midal

    A counterhistory and new historiography of design.

    In Design by Accident, Alexandra Midal declares the autonomy of design, in and on its own terms. This meticulously researched work proposes not only a counterhistory but a new historiography of design, shedding light on overlooked historical landmarks and figures while reevaluating the legacies of design's established luminaries from the nineteenth century to the present. Midal rejects both linear narratives of progress and the long-held perception of design as a footnote to the histories of fine art and architecture. By weaving critical analysis of the canon of design history and theory together, with special attention to the writings of designers themselves, she draws out the nuances and radical potentials of the discipline—from William Morris's ambivalence toward industry, to Catharine Beecher's proto-feminist household appliances, to the Bauhaus's Expressionist origins, and the influence of Herbert Marcuse on Joe Colombo.

    • Paperback $26.00