Running through May 21 in the Edwin Marks Collection gallery, “Ellen DeGeneres Selects” will be the 14th installment of the series. Through the program, leading designers, artists and architects are invited to spotlight their favorite items from the museum’s 210,000 objects.
While many fan know DeGeneres as a talk show host, actress, writer and entrepreneur, she is also the creative force behind the ED by Ellen lifestyle brand. Partial to midcentury modernism, DeGeneres’ highlighted furniture from Charles and Ray Eames, Arne Jacobsen and Bruno Mathsson among others.
She also culled 50 objects to reflect a range of styles, places and time periods. An ancient Egyptian votive box, a Peruvian earthenware vessel, a 1935 Christina Malman drawing and a late 19th-century music box are some of her selections. DeGeneres also pulled a few pieces from her own collection, including lamps she purchased in a Paris flea market. To encourage museumgoers to consider DeGeneres’ pairings, an African mask sits next to a George Nelson wall unit, and Pablo Picasso plates rest on a table with a modern Austrian tea set.
Cooper Hewitt director Caroline Baumann said, “An avid traveler and sophisticated design collector, Ellen’s selections are inspired by her journeys through Africa, Europe and beyond, and underscore the global reach of the museum’s collection,
DeGeneres also supported the Upper East Side museum in a public way last year by supporting its Design in the Classroom program. ED by Ellen and its creative director, DeGeneres, matched contributions up to $100,000 at Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Awards event last fall.
She is unabashed about good design, having said, “This is nothing new to say, but I don’t think you should sacrifice style for comfort. That’s mainly the way I dress. I care about how I look and I care about aesthetic tremendously; I like nice things.”
The celebrity will be following in the footsteps of Thom Browne who curated the most recent Selects. As for her approach to curating, DeGeneres said, “I’ve had a passion for design for as long as I can remember. This exhibition represents all the qualities I love and cultivate in my own home, and I hope it sparks visitors’ own creativity.”