Monday, March 28, 2016


Beauty--Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial; Dress by Sanne van Winden + Suzanne va der Aa + Michiel Schuurman, Posters by Vlisco Netherlands

Beyond the beholder, beauty is a measure of elegance, a means of attraction and a stimulating show of grace. In an expansive display, Beauty--Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial is the fifth in an annual showcase of contemporary art. 63 designers explore 7 categorizations of beauty in expressions of Extravagant, Intricate, Ethereal, Transgressive, Emergent and Elemental. Taping into innovative representations,"Beauty is visceral and embodied, not just visual. Beauty strikes the senses. It erupts from sensual invention and it adds endless value to the world we inhabit [source]." Keep reading for a look inside the exhibit...
Rad Hourani ensembles from Couture Collection #12 (2014)

Originally visiting the Cooper Hewitt to view the Thom Brown Selects exhibit, I am surprised at the brevity of the balcony-esque installation view. Having travelled 80+ streets uptown and spent time waiting on line, I decide to continue wandering the First and Third floors to view the 250+ items representing "Beauty." Curated by Andrea Lipps, Assistant Curator at the Cooper Hewitt and Ellen Lupton, Senior Curator of Contemporary Design, patterns, typography, color, fashion, sculpture and photography emulate 'beauty.' 

Crocheted cotton dress (2013) by Sandra Backlind 

With luxe glam, designers Jemmerle, Naomi Yasuda, Giambattista Valli, Pat McGrath and Guido Paulau use "sometimes deceptive surfaces to create an aura of luxury, glamour, seduction and excess [source]" in Extravagant. The bold color and statement prints of Mara Katrantzou, Studio Job and Richar Niessen push the boundaries of creative vision in Intricate. Sissel Tolaas' scent collection and the clocks of Humans since 1982 embody the fleeting effects of time and scent in Ethereal

Maiko Takeda, Atmospheric Reentry series headpieces (2013-2014)
Androgyny is nature's defiance of man's gender-specific definitions of beauty. In Transgressive, artists explore concepts of unisex clothing, animalistic accessories and obfuscated boundaries. Use of digital patterns and 3-D printed wearables form the foundation of Emergent. Geometry and shape-shifting materials illustrate beauty in change at the hands of Yeongkuyu Yoo, Industrial Facility and Emiliano Godoy in Elemental. Furniture and objects formed from converted basics assume beautiful fresh identities in Transformative. Most notable is Laduma Ngxokolo's colorful knit ensembles "designed for young men in South Africa's Xhosa community who have passed through the rite of circumcision" [source].

STEIL - WORK magazine No. 23: Masaho Anotani "Deformed" (2015)

Throughout the exhibit, a wide range of artifacts, media and cultural nuances validate beauty, or its resistance. Both notable and emerging global influencers are featured, though the arrangement is at times puzzling. Visit on Saturday between 6PM and 9PM for pay-what-you-wish admission. Otherwise, view admission and visit details here

Wearable Sculpture by Ana Rajcevic from ANIMAL: The Other Side of Evolution (2012) [source]

"With projects ranging from experimental prototypes and interactive games to fashion ensembles and architectural interventions, Beauty presents works of astonishing form and surprising function while examining the essential question: 'Why Beauty now?"'
Cooper Hewitt Press Release

Iris Van Herpen dress from Wilderness Embodied couture collection (2013)

Melitta Baumeister Ensembles from S/S 2014-2016

Nail Designs, Tsumabeni (2016) illustrating 'Extravagant'

Mary Katrantzou Pangea dress + shoes (S/S 2015) [L] and Dam C coat + shoes (F/W 2015) [R]; Richard Niessen Posters in the background [BR]

Dokter and Misses [L], Nyaquza Shawl + Ndlela Ntle Shorts by Laduma Ngxokolo for MaXhosa [R] 2015/2016 collections

2014 Earrings, Snail Brooches and Ring

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