A list of intriguing things
One: This 1924 tea infuser—see lead image—by Marianne Brandt is a functional piece of very expensive art.
Only three inches high, its diminutive size results from its function. Unlike conventional teapots, it is intended to distill a concentrated extract, which, when combined with hot water in the cup, can produce tea of any desired strength.
It sold for a record-breaking $361,000 in 2007, making it the most expensive Bauhaus object ever sold at auction. What makes this even more amazing is that Brandt was the only woman to ever receive a Bauhaus degree in metalwork.
Also this: Do the stacked containers below look familiar? These are called Kubus—modular glass containers created by another Bauhaus designer Wilhelm Wagenfeld for use in the fridge and pantry. Curious about how the Bauhaus movement fused art and design? This Metropolitan Museum essay offers a succinct overview. There’s lots more on Brandt here.
Two: The ‘Barbie’ movie introduced the world to the many amusing, offensive and just plain weird versions that Mattel has rolled out over the decades. The movie has also inspired many to dig out their own Barbies—like Asian American women who are rediscovering ‘Going Home Barbie’. This doll was created specially for Chinese children who were adopted by white American parents—and given to them by a hotel called White Swan in Guangzhou, China:
Adoption agencies often booked large blocks of rooms for American families who were traveling together, and Mattel partnered with the White Swan to welcome families with limited-edition dolls waiting for them in their rooms, along with a sponsored playroom.
The doll was discontinued in 2015—and sells as a collectible for around $658 on eBay. Of course, since it’s 2023, it has also earned its very own social media nickname: ‘White Saviour Barbie’. (NBC News)
Three: Hand-painted movie posters were once used by mobile video clubs in Ghana to advertise their wares—and attract an audience as they travelled to villages without electricity. And these fantastic creations included Hollywood, Nollywood—and even Bollywood movies. Example: ‘Jaani Dushman’:
But the best-known is this one for ‘Mrs Doubtfire’: