Radio Nurse, Bakelite, cellulose acetate, Design by Isamu Noguchi, 1937.

Noguchi worked in a variety of media and Radio Nurse was his first major industrial commission. Together with a separate enameled metal receiver called the Guardian Ear, this piece functions as a baby monitor, transmitting sounds from the baby’s room to the receiver. The highly sculptural form evokes an abstracted human head: the eponymous surrogate nurse. Made of Bakelite, a plasticlike, malleable material that could be dyed almost any color, Radio Nurse is an excellent example of the new, industrial material’s sculptural qualities.