Ellen Lupton Cooper-Hewitt work

The final piece that I selected for Ellen Lupton’s portfolio is a recent example of her talents in curation. The work is Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial and is the fifth installment in the museum’s contemporary design series. It was co-curated by Andrea Lipps in 2016. This was a very extensive exhibit that showcased the design of over 63 designers throughout two floors of the museum. The designs came from all over the world and Lupton also engaged a team of international experts to help her in finding unique examples that fit the idea of beauty that Cooper-Hewitt hoped to embody in this contemporary design exhibit.

The exhibit covered various different interpretations of beauty and utilized various mediums from paintings and graphic design to sculpture, fashion, and video. There were a total of seven different themes or types of beauty that the exhibit addressed. Overall, I feel that Lupton took what could have been a very narrowly interpreted theme and broadened it to encompass these many definitions of what people find to be beautiful. It almost seems to embody the phrase that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

I personally love this exhibit which is why I selected it, in addition to the fact that it represents a more recent example of her curation work. I find the diversity of pieces which at first glance may not fit together, but upon deeper examination mesh to tell a full story extremely pleasing visually. Of the various themes that Lupton and her team worked to evoke within the overarching theme of “beauty,” I find that I enjoy the works associated with the idea of intricacy the most intriguing. I love the detail work that is highlighted in each of the pieces and how they vary from the rest of the exhibited works.

Honestly, I am slightly upset that I was not able to see this exhibit in person as it was only displayed for a short time in 2016. I would be interested to see the work that Lupton does in the coming years given the social situations and their implications on visual design as she excels at interpreting the abstract concepts that are prevalent in daily life.

Ellen Lupton; Beauty-National Design Triennial; Example of Exhibition for Cooper-Hewitt; 2016