American television host, actress, writer and entrepreneur Ellen DeGeneres has guest curated the next exhibition in Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s “Selects” series. On view Nov. 11–May 21, 2017, in the Nancy and Edwin Marks Collection Gallery, “Ellen DeGeneres Selects” is the 14th in the ongoing series in which prominent designers, artists and architects are invited to mine and interpret the museum’s collection of more than 210,000 objects.
“An avid traveler and sophisticated design collector, Ellen’s selections are inspired by her journeys through Africa, Europe and beyond, and underscore the global reach of the museum’s collection,” said Cooper Hewitt Director Caroline Baumann. “The objects chosen range from iconic works of modernist design to vernacular expressions of local cultures. Presented in provocative groupings, the installation reinforces Cooper Hewitt’s commitment to present an integrated vision of design that embraces its full range of creative expression.”
Through 50 objects, the installation offers an intimate and personal look into DeGeneres’ eclectic design aesthetic. With a strong focus on midcentury modernism, the exhibition showcases a diverse range of styles, places and time periods, from an ancient Egyptian votive box and a Peruvian earthenware vessel to a 1935 drawing by Christina Malman and a late 19th-century music box. The exhibition includes a few objects on loan from DeGeneres’ private collection, including lamps she found in a Parisian flea market.
Regarding her curatorial vision, DeGeneres said, “I’ve had a passion for design for as long as I can remember. This exhibition represents all the qualities I love and cultivate in my own home, and I hope it sparks visitors’ own creativity.”
Inviting visitors to explore the visual and material relationships between the objects DeGeneres has selected, the pieces are arranged such that an African mask sits next to a wall unit designed by George Nelson, and plates by Pablo Picasso share a tabletop with a modern Austrian tea set. A range of furniture by designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Arne Jacobsen and Bruno Mathsson, among others, reflects DeGeneres’ passion for midcentury modernism.
“Ellen DeGeneres Selects” is made possible by The Marks Family Foundation Endowment Fund.
ABOUT ELLEN DEGENERES
Ellen DeGeneres is a television icon and entertainment pioneer; her distinctive comic voice has resonated with audiences from her first stand-up comedy appearances through her work today on television, in film and in the literary world.
In addition, DeGeneres has always had a strong passion for the history of design and architecture. She has bought and renovated nearly a dozen homes in the past 25 years, through which she has acquired a deep knowledge and appreciation for interior and furniture design. From the Brody House in Los Angeles to a Tuscan-style villa in Santa Barbara, DeGeneres has inhabited and outfitted a wide range of homes that express her multifaceted sense of style and her drive for new artistic projects. For DeGeneres, “moving houses is just another way in which I get to experience life.”
Most recently, DeGeneres launched ED Ellen DeGeneres, a lifestyle brand inspired by her iconic style, values and personality and features an array of product categories that include home, apparel, accessories and pets. EDbyEllen.com
ABOUT COOPER HEWITT, SMITHSONIAN DESIGN MUSEUM
Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. On Dec. 12, 2014, Cooper Hewitt opened in the renovated and restored Carnegie Mansion, which offers 60 percent more exhibition space to showcase one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence. The renovation of the Carnegie Mansion and museum campus was recognized in 2015 with LEED Silver certification. Currently on view are 10 exhibitions and installations featuring more than 650 objects throughout four floors of the mansion, many of which draw from the museum’s permanent collection of more than 210,000 objects that span 30 centuries. For the first time in the museum’s history, the entire second floor is dedicated to showcasing the permanent collection through a variety of exhibitions. Visitors can experience a full range of new interactive capabilities, including the opportunity to explore the collection digitally on ultra-high-definition touch-screen tables, draw their own designs in the Immersion Room and address design problems in the Process Lab.
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 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.