Ellen Lupton work

The first portfolio piece that I have chosen to represent Ellen Lupton’s body of work is one of her most noted exhibitions for Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, “Mechanical Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office,” which was completed in 1992. This exhibition was developed to highlight the transition of women from the home to the office and how the increased use of machines in their lives lead to significant changes in their role.

The use of machines such as washing machines and kitchen appliances drastically changed the length of time women needed to spend doing chores which created free time. This was in turn filled by machine use in the form of radio, television, and phones. As women begin to find a place in the workforce either in factories or more white-collar type jobs such as secretaries, machines continued to facilitate their daily lives. Whether it was a sewing machine or a typewriter, these machines were constantly present in the lives of women, even more so than men.

I selected this piece for inclusion in Ellen Lupton’s portfolio because I feel that it highlights her ability to convey abstract concepts and movements in an easy to understand way. It also demonstrates her ability to connect visual design and writing with different types of media such as photos or actual objects into a cohesive exhibition. Over the years, this has become a hallmark of her style and a unique ability that few have been able to replicate as successfully.

I also enjoy this project because I feel that it highlights an important shift in women’s history, the time when females began to break away from the traditional tasks that previously occupied much of their time. Without the machines that Lupton highlighted, women may still be confined to the home doing basic things by hand and unable to fully reach their potential. I know my future career and my hope for a family at the same time would not be possible without these machines. By demonstrating the connection visually, it makes this portion of history more impactful and shows the drastic changes that occurred in an engaging way.

Ellen Lupton; Mechanical Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office, Phone Section of Exhibition for Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, 1992

Ellen Lupton; Mechanical Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office, Washing Machine Section of Exhibition for Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, 1992