Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will present “Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial,” the fifth installment of the museum’s popular contemporary design exhibition series, from Feb. 12 through Aug. 21, 2016. With projects ranging from experimental prototypes and interactive games to fashion ensembles and architectural interventions, “Beauty” will feature work by 63 designers, filling most of two floors of the museum with more than 250 works from around the globe.
“Featuring recent work from the most outstanding voices in the global design scene, ‘Beauty’ will expand the discourse around the transformative power of aesthetic innovation,” said Caroline Baumann, director of the museum. “The exhibition will celebrate design as a creative endeavor that engages the mind, body and senses with works of astonishing form and surprising function.”
Organized by Assistant Curator Andrea Lipps and Senior Curator of Contemporary Design Ellen Lupton, the exhibition explores beauty through seven lenses: extravagant, intricate, ethereal, transgressive, emergent, elemental and transformative.
The exhibition will travel to the San Jose Museum of Art in October.
Designers use rich materials and shimmering, sometimes deceptive, surfaces to create an aura of luxury, glamour, seduction and excess. Highlights of the works on view include makeup artist Pat McGrath’s transformative visages; Giambattista Valli’s candy-colored gowns that beg to be touched, smelled, even tasted; and hair artist Guido Palau, who creates fantastic hairstyles that consistently push the field, and our eye, forward.
Performing astonishing feats of craftsmanship and physical construction, designers and artisans create textured or patterned surfaces that engage the eye in a wandering journey. Among the works on view in this section include the voluptuous typography of Non-Format; the textured garments of fashion designer Mary Katrantzou, which glisten from a distance and pulse with intimate detail up close; and, the work of Studio Job, featuring patterns that appear traditional at first glance yet give way to a jarring iconography of the everyday—from gas masks and peace signs to syringes and kitchen tools.
Designers create forms that shape space, time, light or air, sometimes defying permanence and weight in favor of ephemeral materials or fleeting effects. Highlights of the designer projects on view include work by scent artist Sissel Tolaas, who collects and preserves smell molecules from around the world and has been commissioned by the museum to create a new scent based on Central Park; and a grid of analog clocks that forms a giant digital timepiece whose elements align every 60 seconds to read out the time in numerals made of clock hands, created by the firm Humans Since 1982.
Embracing androgyny, antiform, the grotesque, the formless and the fantastic, designers blur established boundaries and definitions, challenging normative standards of beauty, gender, genre or behavior. Works on view include Ana Rajcevic’s Animal headpieces, which partly obscure the face of the wearer, questioning the boundary between humans and animals; Noa Zilberman’s jewelry series Wrinkles, which distributes lines of gold across the artist’s face and cleavage; the unisex clothing collections of Rad Hourani; and Afreaks, a collection of fantastical beaded creatures created by the Haas Brothers in collaboration with Monkeybiz, a nonprofit income generating bead project who works with craftswomen from the Khayelitsha township outside Cape Town, South Africa.
Emulating nature and embracing code and mathematics, designers create rules and processes that determine the final outcome of a project, working with data flows and user interactions to create responsive forms. Featured work includes Daniel Brown’s digital blossoms, which celebrate the glamour of artifice; Neri Oxman’s Wanderers, 3-D-printed wearable objects (produced by Stratasys) permeated with capillaries and seeded with microorganisms to enable future survival on distant planets; and Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg’s project Designing for the Sixth Extinction, which depicts genetically engineered creatures that could someday clean the air of toxins, neutralize acid in the soil and collect and scatter seeds. Cooper Hewitt has commissioned architect Jenny Sabin to design a knitted, textile structure for the exhibition.
Drawing energy and character from basic materials, designers create serene geometries and uncluttered forms that invite intuitive interaction from users. The exhibition will feature works by Sam Hecht and Kim Colin, founders of Industrial Facility, who find beauty in the equilibrium of making, use and memory; Formafantasma and Emiliano Godoy, who give shape to lava and glass respectively, materials that shift from liquid to solid; and Yeongkyu Yoo, whose World Clock rolls to display the time in all 24 time zones.
Under the hand of the designer, familiar materials, vocabularies or forms assume new and surprising identities. Featured projects include the furniture and objects of Brynjar Sigurðarson, who borrows materials and techniques from Icelandic fishermen; Jantje Fleischhut’s abstract jewelry, shaped from precious materials and found objects that suggest asteroids and interstellar debris; and Laduma Ngxokolo’s line of knitted garments, designed for young men in South Africa’s Xhosa community who have passed through the rite of circumcision.
“Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial” is made possible by generous support from Edward and Helen Hintz, and Madeleine Rudin Johnson.
Additional funding is provided by Amita and Purnendu Chatterjee, August Heckscher Exhibition Fund, Margery and Edgar Masinter, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc., Ehrenkranz Fund, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Rockwell Group, Esme Usdan Exhibition Endowment Fund, the Dutch Culture USA program of the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, and the Consulate General of Finland.
A 276-page book with 274 images, designed by Kimberly Varella of Content Object Design Studio, is published by Cooper Hewitt and distributed by Artbook | DAP (Distributed Art Publishers), $50.00.
In spring and summer 2016, a series of public programs will inspire dialogue about design and beauty.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Inaugurated in 2000, the Triennial series looks at new developments in design as they surface in studios, fairs, shops, galleries and media around the world. In organizing “Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial,” the museum engaged a panel of international curatorial advisors early in its process: Adélia Borges (Brazil), Claire Catterall (England), Kenya Hara (Japan), Mugendi M’Rithaa (South Africa), Suvi Saloniemi (Finland), Sarah Scaturro (United States) and Annemartine van Kesteren (Netherlands). The exhibition is designed by Tsao & McKown Architects.
ABOUT COOPER HEWITT, SMITHSONIAN DESIGN MUSEUM
As the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design, Cooper Hewitt educates, inspires and empowers people through design. The museum has recently undergone a transformative renovation resulting in an entirely new visitor experience and 60 percent more exhibition space to showcase one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence.
Cooper Hewitt is located at 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue in New York City. Hours are Sunday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden and Tarallucci e Vino cafe open at 8 a.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. weekends, and are accessible without an admissions ticket through the new East 90th Street entrance. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Public transit routes include the Lexington Avenue 4, 5 and 6 subways (86th or 96th Street stations) and the Fifth and Madison Avenue buses. Adult admission, $18; seniors, $12; students, $9. Cooper Hewitt members and children younger than age 18 are admitted free. Pay What You Wish every Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. The museum is fully accessible.
For further information, call (212) 849-8400, visit Cooper Hewitt’s website at www.cooperhewitt.org and follow the museum on www.twitter.com/cooperhewitt, www.facebook.com/cooperhewitt and www.instagram.com/cooperhewitt.
Photo: Neri Oxman (Israeli-American, active in USA, b. 1976) and MIT Mediated Matter Group in collaboration with Stratasys and Deskriptiv; Rendered by Deskriptiv: Christoph Bader and Dominik Kolb; Produced by Stratasys. Rendering, back view of Otaared, from Wanderers collection, 2014 © Neri Oxman.
DESIGNERS FEATURED IN “BEAUTY”
Hemmerle (Munich, Germany, founded 1893)
Pat McGrath (British, b. 1966)
Guido Palau (British, b. 1962)
Giambattista Valli (Italian, active in France, b. 1966)
Naomi Yasuda (Japanese, b. 1984)
Sandra Backlund (Swedish, b. 1975)
Homa Delvaray (Iranian, b. 1980)
Hechizoo (Bogotá, Colombia, founded 2000)
Mary Katrantzou (Greek, active in United Kingdom, b. 1983)
Richard Niessen (Dutch, b. 1972)
Non-Format (Oslo, Norway, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)
Kustaa Saksi (Finnish, active in Netherlands, b. 1975)
Studio Job (Antwerp, Belgium, and Amsterdam, Netherlands, founded 2000)
Hans Tan (Singaporean, b. 1980)
Terhi Tolvanen (Finnish, active in France, b. 1968)
Vlisco (Helmond, Netherlands, founded 1846)
Sou Fujimoto Architects (Tokyo, Japan, founded 2000)
Humans Since 1982 (Stockholm, Sweden, founded 2010)
Tuomas Markunpoika (Finnish, active in Netherlands, b. 1982)
Maiko Takeda (Japanese, b. 1986)
Sissel Tolaas (Norwegian, active in Germany, b. 1962)
Ana Rajcevic (Serbian, active in United Kingdom and Germany, b. 1983)
Theseus Chan (Singaporean, b. 1961)
Delfina Delettrez (Italian, b. 1987)
The Haas Brothers (Los Angeles, California, USA, founded 2010)
Pepe Heykoop (Dutch, b. 1984)
Rad Hourani (Canadian, active in France, b. Jordan 1982)
Gareth Pugh (British, b. 1981)
Jólan van der Wiel (Dutch, b. 1984)
Noa Zilberman (Israeli, b. 1977)
Daniel Brown (British, b. 1977)
Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg (British, b. 1982)
Aaron Koblin (American, b. 1982), Vincent Morisset (Canadian, b. 1976) and Ben Tricklebank (British, b. 1977)
Neri Oxman (Israeli-American, active in USA, b. 1976)
Jenny E. Sabin (American, b. 1974)
Kyuha Shim (Korean, active in USA, b. 1982)
Simogo (Malmö, Sweden, founded 2010)
Iris van Herpen (Dutch, b. 1984)
Olivier van Herpt (Dutch, b. 1989)
Ken Wong (Australian, b. 1982)
Michael Anastassiades (Cypriot, active in United Kingdom, b. 1967)
Daniel Emma (Adelaide, Australia, founded 2008)
Formafantasma (Amsterdam, Netherlands, founded 2009)
Emiliano Godoy (Mexican, b. 1974)
Industrial Facility (London, England, United Kingdom, founded 2002)
Daniel Rybakken (Norwegian, b. 1984)
SO-IL (Brooklyn, New York, USA, founded 2008)
Trace Architecture Office / TAO (Beijing, China, founded 2009)
Yeongkyu Yoo (Korean, active in USA and South Korea, b. 1971)
Jean Yu (Korean, active in USA, b. 1970)
Melitta Baumeister (German, active in USA, b. 1986)
Dokter and Misses (Johannesburg, South Africa, founded 2007)
Elastic (Santa Monica, California, USA, founded 2008)
Jantje Fleischhut (German, active in Netherlands, b. 1972)
Francesco Franchi (Italian, b. 1982)
Götz Gramlich (German, b. 1974)
Brunno Jahara (Brazilian, b. 1979)
Max Lamb (British, b. 1980)
Laduma Ngxokolo (South African, b. 1986)
Scholten & Baijings (Amsterdam, Netherlands, founded 2000)
Brynjar Sigurðarson (Icelandic, b. 1986)
Kris Sowersby (New Zealander, b. 1981)
TheUnseen (London, England, United Kingdom, founded 2012)