by Merit Myers, Membership Coordinator

Surrounded by colorful blossoms and birds singing to the neighborhood, I write to you from my favorite bench on the north western edge of the museum’s Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden. Sitting here, I enjoy a kind of outdoor exhibition — one that changes its colors and activities as the seasons change. As these sunny days warm the cooler days away, I’m reminded of the exciting changes and opportunities in store for you this year.

Headshot of Duro Olowu

Duro Olowu. Photo by Uzoamaka Maduka.

If you haven’t visited this spring, I personally invite you to explore new exhibitions and objects in our galleries including the latest installment of Cooper Hewitt’s Selects series, curated by Nigerian-British designer Duro Olowu. Duro Olowu Selects highlights the theme of pattern and repetition throughout Cooper Hewitt’s collection. Duro’s singular vision and passion for curation transforms the gallery into a dynamic and beguiling collection of objects spanning discipline and century — it’s a knockout.

In the galleries of Cooper Hewitt is displayed a large, old fashioned book with its pages open. Behind the book is a case with a set of 12 porcelain plates with botanical models painted on them. Behind the case, printed in jumbo scale on the wall, is a botanical illustration of a flowering plant with pink flowers. Two butterflies with black and yellow wings flutter around the flower.

Gallery view of Botanical Expressions. Photo by Matt Flynn

Upstairs, on the second floor, I hope you’ll enjoy a stroll through a garden of new objects in Botanical Expressions which focuses on key figures—Christopher Dresser, Emile Gallé, William Morris, and Louis Comfort Tiffany—whose knowledge of the natural sciences and personal practices of gardening enriched their creative output as designers. Featuring textiles, ceramics, glass, wallcoverings, and more, the exhibition also includes illustrated guidebooks that designers used for reference and drawing instruction. The seeds of inspiration!

A black and white digital print of Sophia Crownfield sitting at a desk bent over her design in her work room with prints hung on the back wall.

Sophia L. Crownfield working in her studio, ca. 1900.
Photo courtesy of the Crownfield family

Speaking of floral inspiration, any nature-loving member must visit Sophia Crownfield: Drawn from Nature. The drawings of Sophia Crownfield (American, 1862-1929) who designed prints for some of the most well-known silk and wallpaper manufactures in the United States, show her skill to transform floral stems into the wearable patterns of the period.

We’re eager for you to enjoy new benefits as we begin to plan for in-person events and exhibition previews. These changes mean you can get even more from your membership. Stay tuned for updates on member guest passes, events in the garden, and the return of membership cards.

In the meantime, I want to thank you for being a member and visiting us during the winter for Underground Modernist: E McKnight Kauffer and Jon Gray of Ghetto Gastro Selects. We understand the changing nature of our world challenges us to continue being careful with one another. However, despite these challenges, the work of my colleagues endures and brings new and fresh offerings for you to enjoy — perfect for spring.

 

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