Anne Higonnet at Artforum:
Curator Wolf Burchard has astutely understood that some of the Met’s least appreciated objects have become cultural icons, just not in the way the museum usually presents them. The Met owns one of the world’s best collections of eighteenth-century “decorative arts”; they usually languish in the museum’s emptiest galleries. Yet when Disney animated them into characters like the candlestick Lumiére in Beauty and the Beast or into scenes in Cinderella (1950), which features the heroine’s rags spiraling into a court gown, they have beguiled mass audiences. The Met rightly makes the essential formal point that Disney was inspired by the inherent animation of Rococo design, its kinetic furniture equipped with multiple moving parts and frothy ornament. To help us understand how widely this impulse pervaded eighteenth-century European culture, the museum cleverly displays a copy of a novel, Le Sopha: Conte Moral. The 1742 best seller, like many stories of its time, revolves around a thing that thinks.