Ellen DeGeneres Selects
Exhibition on view through May 21, 2017.
Plan your visit to the museum today.
For the 14th installment of the museum’s Selects series, American television host, actress, writer, and producer Ellen DeGeneres offers an intimate look into her eclectic design aesthetic with an installation of 50 objects from the museum’s permanent collection. Selects is an ongoing series in which prominent influencers, designers, and artists are invited to mine and interpret the museum’s collection of more than 210,000 objects. 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.
View all the objects in the exhibition.
Ellen DeGeneres Selects is made possible by the Marks Family Foundation Endowment Fund.
How Ellen approaches design
Emily Orr, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary American Design, speaks with Ellen DeGeneres about her design process.
Emily Orr (EO): What are the qualities that drove your selection for this installation at Cooper Hewitt?
Ellen DeGeneres (ED): The items I chose are very similar to pieces I have in my own homes. It’s fun to mix different ideas and time periods in one space. I look for common threads between pieces and create a fresh environment.
EO: Do you go in search of particular objects to decorate your own interiors?
ED: I am always searching for pieces to add to my home. Most weekends I visit art galleries, flea markets, and antique shops. There is always something new and interesting to discover.
EO: Where have you found your favorite objects? Is there a particular story of a discovery or a hunt for a piece that stands out in your mind?
ED: I found great lighting at the Paris flea markets. Stuff you can’t find in LA.
EO: What is it about interior design that fulfills you in a different way than your career as a television host and comedian?
ED: My career is all verbal-both as a stand up and talk show host. Design is silent and speaks for itself.
EO: Are there pieces that travel with you from home to home?
ED: Yes, there are certain pieces I never part with.
EO: We have learned about your love of animals and objects that depict or take the shape of animals. How did this love come about?
ED: I have loved animals since I was a child. My pets are part of my family. I don’t love all animal objects, but some are beautiful and those are the ones I like to have in my home.
EO: What are your hopes for the visitor as they experience the interior arrangement that you have created at Cooper Hewitt?
ED: The exhibition represents all the qualities I love and cultivate in my own home. I hope the visitors find it interesting and it sparks their own creativity.