The antique velvet chair seen above is part of the exhibit Maira Kalman Selects, on now at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. Embedded in the seat back of the chair is a small tablet screen which shows videos of dancing ballerinas. Thus the work’s title, Velvet Chair and Dancing Videos. Clever.
For this exhibition, the author, artist and designer has filled the former first-floor Drawing Room of what was once the Carnegie Mansion, with 40 objects from sources including the Cooper Hewitt, the National Museum of American History, and her personal collection to suggest the journey of a life story, from birth through death.
Kalman is best known for her whimsical take on modern life. Here, she explores the human condition, presenting objects that create a picture of daily life as she sees and lives it. In her words, the exhibition is about “falling in love with a group of objects”; “the preciousness of time”; and the realization that “many of the most important memories in your life will be populated by the most seemingly unimportant objects. A chair. A bowl.”
And what does she suggest you do when you enter the exhibition? Just look. And listen. “To wander about in a room in a museum and to have the fluttery feeling of discovery and potential,” she says, “is a great feeling.”
Maira Kalman Selects will be on View Through June 14th, 2015 at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, Located on Fifth Avenue at the Corner of 92nd Street.